I’ve said I wanted to be a writer since I was 8.
Today, I’m 46.
If I had spent as much time writing as I’d spent talking about writing…
Oops, sorry. I drifted off into a fantasy of world book tours and being interviewed by Oprah. What was I saying?
The thing is, so many of us talk about writing. We talk about someday.
We say, “I have an idea. Maybe I’ll write it someday.”
We attend workshops and conferences. We listen to interviews with favorite authors.
We buy crisp new journals and create nooks in our homes dedicated to the writing we intend to do.
There is much to be said, of course, for learning and inspiration. But at the end of the day it only takes us so far.
Writing only happens when we put words on the page.
The rest is smoke and mirrors.
I was in a writing class once, years ago, at my local community college. The instructor, a working writer of fiction, told us to be careful of taking too many classes.
At the time I found it funny – an instructor telling us not to take too many classes – but her words have stayed with me.
I spend so much time talking about writing and thinking about writing, but not enough time writing.
It’s like joining a gym and never going. (Ahem…I may have done that too.) We have to work our writing muscles.
I’m in this camp, too. Many of us are.
I find I’m getting tired of hearing myself talk about the writing I’m going to do. It’s especially noticeable when a lot of time has gone by between writing sessions.
The only way to do this is to schedule writing time and sit down to do it. Someday will never come if we are waiting for the perfect flash of inspiration. The inspiration comes when we show up.
But we can’t show up and then beat ourselves up for not writing the next national bestseller. We have to show up and then congratulate ourselves for showing up. That way, we’ll show up again. And again.
This is the real work of writers. Noticing when we talk about the somedays and – with self-compassion always – scheduling them into nows.