Thinking about writing

Today I read a very helpful article about writing. It was in a newsletter that I receive by email. The author once met an unusual lady at a writers’ conference. This lady was planning to spend the next few years studying about how to be a writer and the techniques of writing. She had never written anything but planned to do so in two or three years. She said she was in the “thinking about writing stage”.

Candy Arrington, the writer relating this incident, was amazed. The best way to learn how to write is simply to start writing. Sure, study books on technique, attend conferences and workshops, attend writers’ seminars as they are all useful in the process of honing skills, especially workshops.

Candy then goes on to give five reasons why some writers wait – I’d call it procrastination.

Fear: Many would-be writers fear criticism, rejection and failure. (Note to self: guilty as charged!)

Perfectionism: Many writers edit and re-edit and polish their work endlessly and never get around to actually finishing anything. Sure, aim to submit writing that exudes excellence – perfection may take a little longer, like a lifetime – or even longer. (Note to self: dangerously close to committing this crime too!)

Much Ado: Candy goes on to say that some writers show a lot of busyness and activity without ever getting anywhere. They research endlessly or “spend a fortune acquiring, although not always reading, how-to books about writing. Others become professional writer conference junkies.” (Note to self: guilty of acquiring books about writing BUT in my defence – I have read most of them!)

Failure to envision the end result: Imagining the finished product and set a firm goal to accomplish that goal. (Note to self: Not Guilty – but can do better.)

Lack of discipline: There is no boss hovering over one motivating one to write so a lack of discipline can be a real trap (though being accountable to my long-suffering wife can be motivational in a way). Candy mentions that the internet can be a real threat to self-discipline and gives a good hint on overcoming this problem. (Note to self: Guilty as charged, though some improvement is evident in recent months.)

Overall – this is a short but useful article. Her final summary is very good advice:

In the final analysis, it is those who believe, risk, write, and submit who are published. So don’t wait. Just do it. Write.

Read the whole article “Why Wait? Just Write” by Candy Arrington here.


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