by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
True confession time.
Writing is both the thing I love best and the thing I hate most.
When the words flow, it’s heaven on earth. When they stutter to a halt, the opposite is true. And the truth is, both of these circumstances are a regular part of the writer’s life.
We write when we feel like, and when we don’t; when we’re inspired, and when we’re not. Most of all we write because we have to. Putting words on paper is life to some of us and an addiction without a recovery group.
The time to write isn’t something we find. It’s something we sacrifice for, carving it out of lives that are as busy as anyone else. I get so weary of wanna-be writers complaining about no time to write.
I have author friends who don’t have the time either. They write:
- In hospital waiting rooms.
- In ten and fifteen minute breaks while caring for special needs children
- In carpool lines.
- In the middle of the night.
I could share story after story after story about how writers I know have sacrificed to follow their vocation—all true. The truth is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day and we all have the choice of how to spend them.
“If you can imagine yourself doing anything else besides writing—do it!”
I’ve been known to give this advice to those just starting out—because they still have time to turn back. I’m a hopeless case. I’ll write myself into a grave and hopefully beyond.
Becoming a writer is a decision—followed by a life of choices that enable us to live out that commitment.
Here are some of the hard choices you’ll need to make to find writing success:
- 1. Trading TV time for writing time. (You’ll need those hours to put words on paper.)
- 2. Committing to a lifetime of learning and staying current with the publishing industry. (The industry is changing a lightning speed, either keep up or die.)
- 3. Saying no to the good things, so you’ll have time to say yes to the best things. (Writing is an isolated life a lot of the time.)
- 4. A willingness to write through the junk to get to gems. (Good writing is rewriting—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)
- 5. The necessity of checking your ego at the door. (There’s always someone more talented, successful, lucky, etc. Get over it and move on.)
- 6. A willingness to trust other professionals (like your agent and your editor).
- 7. An unwillingness to compromise what truly matters. (And no this does NOT contradict #6)
- 8. Trading talking about writing for actually putting words on the page. (Networking is important, but not as important as writing)
- 9. The commitment to keep going when the odds seem impossible. (In this industry impossible odds is the new normal.)
Well, this is my list. It’s your turn to add your thoughts. You all always have such valuable insights, please share them below in the comments section.
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the military family blogger on Guideposts and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine and the Senior Editor forNovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.