Succeeding as a writer
I disagreed with a piece of wisdom printed in our daily newspaper today.
‘You can’t get to the top by sitting on your bottom.’ The Advertiser, Adelaide, March 27th 2010.
In many walks of life that aphorism is very appropriate: you can’t succeed unless you are willing to get up off your butt and get working.
I believe the opposite is true – in one sense – when it comes to success in writing. You can’t succeed as a writer unless you apply your backside to a seat and start writing. I guess the meaning is still the same; it’s just the way you do it that counts.
Many people are in love with the idea of ‘being a writer’ but are not prepared to put in the hard yards, the lonely hours at the keyboard, the frustrating wait to hear from publishers and all that other stuff that goes with being a writer. They want to have written, but do not want the many hours, days, months and years or dedicated sacrifice and hard work it takes to become a writer.
So I’d like to amend that proverb so that it is true for writers:
‘You can only get to the top as a writer by sitting on your bottom and writing.’
We have to be careful not to be obsessive about this. There are recent studies showing that people who spend lots of time sitting down have health problems. Humans are built for action. So if you do have a sedentary occupation it is necessary to balance it with walking around. It also doubles as thinking time.
I agree with your comments entirely Ken. I’ve found out the hard way and now need to break up my writing day using a number of strategies. These include: going for a swim or walk (depending on season), reading in a more comfortable chair (often writing related reading), gardening (always something that needs attention), hanging out the washing (good for bird watching too). I also try to drink plenty of water (and an occasional cup of tea) which frequently requires getting up and walking to the other end of the house to visit the toilet.
My son, who runs an internet business from home, can often spend up to 15+ hours daily at his computer. He breaks this up taking grandson for a walk, walking to the shops (in Artarmon it’s quicker to walk than drive) and also drinking volumes.
He is about to experiment with raising his keyboard and monitor so that he can stand while he works.