I’ve been following the blog of a group of writers who are trying to write five book in five months. That’s five writers writing one book each. They have to be finished in February. I’d love to say that they’re trying hard, they’re working like demons, and the pages are more or less getting out there.
But the fact is that with few exceptions, most of their posts have been more about why they haven’t written then what they’ve gotten done or what they’re learning along the way. Early on, it made sense – they were feeling their way into the world of the book, and in a couple of cases, into the genre of the books they’d decided to write – so fair enough. That’s scary territory, the beginning. But it’s late November, they have two and a bit months left, and so far only two or two and a half of the writers are really getting significant work done. The others are still flailing around, and their reasons are sounding more like excuses than reasons.
I know how hard it is to write. I’m doing this instead of working on my WIP and I’ve spent the last hour going over my email, checking FB and playing silly games. I also have a semi external, semi self-imposed deadline. So it’s not as though I’m not sympathetic. And I have the excuse (which is an actual reason but feels too often like an excuse) of low energy levels due to the healing I’ve been doing this fall. (As I learned AGAIN last night – it is a reason. I do have limited energy and I suffer if I overdo it. The problem is that when I’m not out of energy, I feel pretty good, and I don’t have any early warning symptoms. It’s straight from “oh, just fine, thanks” to “um, damn, everything hurts and the brain is fried and tofu’d oatmeal” in .03 seconds.)
So yeah, I know how easy it is to put it off, find other things to do and ignore (more or less) that niggle at the back of the head. Which is why I’ve gotten out and dusted off and am recommending a terrific little book (little in that it’s quick to read) called THE WAR OF ART: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield and published by Warner books. If this doesn’t get your fingers itching and your mind revved up to write (or paint, or compose or play), then you aren’t a writer/artist/composer/musician.
It’s short and to the point because Steven doesn’t pull punches, and he doesn’t accept excuses and he tells you bluntly that neither should you, and uses every means possible to point out that if you love what you do and want to be a pro at it, you have to do the work and put in the time, with no excuses (not even cancer, apparently, which puts me firmly in the camp of the amateurs), no delays and no whining. Go do it, about sums up the books message.
So, 5 Writers, 5 Novels, 5 Months. Are we pros, or are we amateurs? I’m going to be a pro. And I believe in you. I think you’re all pros too. You’re just not aware of it yet. So get working!