Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Excuses, Just Write

by Heather Moore

Over the past few weeks while attending booksignings, I've had several people ask me the same question. "How do you find time to write?"

In the beginning, writing was an escape. It was something I did because I felt so much better and more fulfilled after. But once my first book in a series came out, it turned into a different game. Now I had a deadline, and I had to write toward it. So "finding time" wasn't just something I did when I felt like it, but it was something I had to fit into a busy schedule.

Appropriately, in Jack Bickham's The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, the first chapter is about not making excuses to not write. Well, we all have excuses, and many times they are very valid. But sometimes, they aren't.

Author, James Dashner, made this analogy to a recent audience when asked the same question. "How many of you watched an hour of television last night?" Most hands went up. "How many of you watched two hours?" A few hands went down. "How many of you watched three hours?" Several hands went down, but at least a half-dozen remained in the air. "Last night instead of watching T.V., I wrote for three hours."

Julie Wright owns a store with her husband, works a full-time job (starting at 5:00 a.m. each day) and manages to write one or two books a year. How does she do it? She doesn't make excuses.

Writing is hard work. It takes persistence, perseverence, self-motivation . . . you get the picture. I love Bickham's advice for the days that we have excuses not to write: "type one double-spaced page of excuses, date is carefully, and file it in a special place . . . you must do this every time you don't work." (3)

Bickham also says that no excuse is good enough. As a mother, I know there are many excuses that are good enough, so that's why it's important to set realistic goals and stick to them. But his message is loud and clear--at least to me . . . Writers write. Non-writers make excuses.


Tamra Norton said...

Writing is a habit...and it's easy to fall out of. I try to set a daily goal to write at least a page. If I write two, I'm thrilled. If I write only a paragraph, it's still progress. But I know I'll need to step it up the next day.

Julie Wright said...

Heather is singing my song! (only she used nicer lyrics) Before I go to bed tonight I will have written two complete novels for the 2007 year. I have also "started" three other novels. Started for me means I wrote the first 20-50 pages so I can easily go back to those books and pick up where I left off. I start books when I get ideas that are just too great to ignore. I do not ever watch TV. It's a sacrifice, I admit. I love TV, but if you really want it . . .

Heather B. Moore said...

I have to swallow my own advice tonight. Write, Heather, Write!!