I’ve been told to write every day. I’ve been told to write late at night. I’ve been told to wake early and write in the wee hours.
I know this is well-meaning advice, and I understand the premise that writing itself must become habitual, such that it’s not just part of who we are as writers, but it’s what we do. But we can’t really take advice unless it resonates somewhere deep in us, can we? Here’s the truth: I write in carved-out, precious bits of time between schlepping kids around and exercising and all the other things life requires of me, or rather, things I require of life.
When I am writing, I check Facebook when my own thoughts are boring me (maybe one day I’ll rid myself of this terrible, empty, and addictive habit, BUT).
Write your novel. Write your short story. That thing (screenplay, novella, whatever!) you’ve been thinking about for 10 years…you’ve got to get it on paper. That’s all.
Oh, and that novel you set aside because you’re always in your own way, knowing you can do better, get back to it.
It can be reworked and edited. It can be better, get better, transform into the thing you envision it to be. But it cannot be the thing you want it to be unless you actually do it.
We’re human. And therefore deeply flawed. So whatever it is we create, let’s not try and make it perfect. Let’s put our blood into it (I’ve been watching too much “Mozart in the Jungle” lately), let’s strive for it, and chip away at it, but, God, perfection is boring anyway, isn’t it? I’d rather sludge through the mess of creation one beautiful, painful bit at a time than hold myself to some unachievable standard.
So even though I’m anti-advice, here’s the bottom line: stop thinking about doing it and believe in yourself enough to ACTUALLY do it.
I’m pretty sure this applies to many other life endeavors. But don’t quote me on it.
Best of luck to you as you pursue your dreams…you deserve it.