Tuesday, May 21, 2019

What Is A Professional Writer (More thoughts)

I was reading from a book I picked up several years ago with thoughts, motivations and prompts for writers. It is THE POCKET MUSE by Monica Wood. I stumbled across a passage I had briefly read before, but seemed amazingly relevant after a couple of the posts I have done here recently. Here is what she said:

"I once heard a college student in Waterville, Maine, asking visiting writer, Ron Carlson how one knows if one is really a writer. Ever the showman, Carlson delivered an entertaining riff about the distractions writers put in their own way, all day, all the time: leaving the room to get coffee, check the mail, get coffee, walk the dogs, go to the bathroom, get coffee, look something up, get coffee. Then dead serious, he summed up the whole enterprise in a line I have never forgotten: 'The Writer is the one who stays in the room.' "

I love this thought as much as Wood did.

Professional writers do not make excuses. They don't come up with reasons why the story is not going to work or why they cannot make that deadline. They don't come up with "justifiable reasons" why doing something a different way is just not going to work.

They just do it! They write. The commit.

Do me a favor. Go to the bank and get a roll or two of quarters. Put those next to your desk in a bowl. Next to that bowl, put a glass jar. Every time you come up with an excuse or a reason to walk away from that manuscript, drop a coin in the jar. It will hopefully jingle some sense into you.

And when that jar is full, DONATE it to someone. You don't get that money. That is money that you wasted when you could have been writing.

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