Today, a blog, a newsletter and my own life all collided in one place - and it made me think yet again about why, when we call ourselves writers, have projects on the go, deadlines looming, still we faff about and don't write. First was the blog - Kristi Holl has written two insightful posts about what fuels your writing, what motivates you to sit down and put words on the page. Deadlines are great, but if you've been writing for a while and had some stuff published, then that particular carrot (seeing your work in print) is not so important anymore.
So what do you replace it with? Then I read Randy Ingermanson's newsletter that turns up in my InBox every month. He talks about advanced fiction writing techniques, and something he said today struck a chord: "I've heard from a lot of writers on this, and the strong impression I've gotten is that most writers, most days, don't feel like writing. That's as true of professional novelists as it is of the newest novices." (You can sign up for his free newsletter here.)
That made me feel better. In fact, it almost gave me a really good excuse for not writing. I had a dozen distractions today, things I considered important to accomplish. One was part of my third job these days (building a house - I've long given up considering it a small extra!). Light fittings. I drove all over my area looking yet again at light fittings. Nobody has what I want for a reasonable price, and when they do, it's not in stock. By 1pm today, I was grinding my teeth and trying really hard not to thump a salesman. All the while, that last chapter in my novel revision hovered somewhere over my right shoulder, mumbling at me.
There were other distractions. That's part of the problem Kristi and Randy talk about - unless you are going through a period of hot, intense motivation, sitting down to write can be the hardest thing in the world to do. It's not even that you give in to distractions - you go looking for them! Anything except writing. But this last chapter ... it was waiting. It had been patient for a few days, but it knew I was avoiding it, and it was starting to scowl.
After I read the rest of Randy's article, I knew he was right. The only way to write is to sit on that chair and begin. No matter how long it takes the computer to boot up (there are so many things you can squeeze in while you're waiting, and then they stretch out to an hour or more...), when it's ready, you have to sit down and start. No more distractions, no more excuses. Are you a writer? So get on with it and write!