I stumbled across John Scalzi’s blog last week on writing. I love this comment he made:
Do you want to write or don’t you? If your answer is “yes, but,” then here’s a small editing tip: what you’re doing is using six letters and two words to say “no.” And that’s fine. Just don’t kid yourself as to what “yes, but” means.
We often find ways to lie to ourselves. That the nachos and margarita calories don’t really count because you didn’t have breakfast. That playing video games is honestly creative thinking. Or maybe “I’ll try to write a thousand words today.”
As Master Yoda says, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
A few weeks ago I blogged at Murder She Writes about how I hate writing speeches, and even the one I did write (and posted here at Murderati) I didn’t really give because I went off on a tangent after page two and I have no real recollection of what I said. But I’m the keynote speaker for the Moonlight & Magnolia’s conference next weekend, and I do need a little preparation. Not a full speech like I wrote but didn’t give to the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, but a loose compilation of thoughts and inspirations I can share with fellow writers.
When I read Scalzi’s blog, I thought of the theme of the conference: “Master Your Story, Master Your Destiny.” Which for writers, I think means:
You have absolutely no control over anything in this business except the effing book, so you’d better damn well write!
Or, we could switch this around and say, “Stop lying to yourself. If you want to be a writer, put your ass in the damn chair and write! If you don’t want to be a writer, why are you sitting here? Master your destiny, then you can master your story.”
Either way, Scalzi and Master Yoda have an important point that it would benefit all of us (including the Queen of Procrastination, Yours Truly) to take to heart. No more buts, no more trying. Say yes and do it.
Whatever “it” is.
So I’m calling on you all for help. Give me examples of how we lie to ourselves, especially to justify not doing something. Or, what you think “Master Your Story, Master Your Destiny” means. I’m also looking for motivational quotes—you know, one of those kick-you-in-the-ass quotes—or a true story that gets you excited to write or do something else you care about. Are there any books or articles out there that motivate you? Whatever you want to share, great!
And as a thank you for your help, I’m giving one random commenter a copy of BLOOD LITE II: OVERBITE, an anthology of humorous horror stories by the Horror Writers Association and edited by Kevin J. Anderson, a prolific and talented writer. I had a lot of fun writing my story!
How far will an elite call girl go to beat a murder rap? Stuck with a dead client in a luxury L.A. hotel room, she might strike a costly bargain with a woman of unearthly powers in Allison Brennan’s “Her Lucky Day.”