Just Keep Writing…Just Keep Writing

I’ve had a few thoughts recently towards that number one piece of advice that I get from all angles when I ask about (or google, or read…) writing. What is the one thing I can do to improve my own writing? That advice is…just keep writing. Don’t worry if it’s crap. Just keep writing. In one form or another this is the one piece of advice that is offered. It’s offered as a “tool” to improve whatever area of writing that you/I/whoever is having problems with from plot to character to dialogue. 

 This writing advice is so full of itself you can smell it a mile away. Why? Because the automatic response to this should be “no duh!” You want to write? Then you write. Period. Make the time for it and don’t let yourself get distracted when you are writing.  Un-plug the telephone, turn off the TV (unless, like me, you can’t write without noise), and don’t answer the door. Just keep writing. If I want to be a writer, I need to write every single day. I love to write, so of course I’m going to. In my original post, I said I was following a 30 day writing challenge. It wasn’t about finishing a novel in a month (although that would be great). It was about the number one advice. Write every day. Write till I’m sick of it. That’s what the challenge was about…to keep writing.

If this advice is full of itself, why make a challenge to do exactly that? Because it also has merits.  Who hasn’t been distracted to no end by Facebook, the TV, or anything else and let time slip away? Who hasn’t made excuses to not write? Who hasn’t been, at least once in their life, been stuck with writer’s block? I believe that you would be hard-pressed to find one writer who hasn’t been stuck with at least one of the above mentioned “blocks” to writing. I was one of those writers. I told myself that I needed a “day job” and I had to go to school, and I must have time with family and friends. I told myself I didn’t have the time to write. Then it happened. I graduated, thereby losing my “day job” as a student worker. I had no job, no school and still didn’t find the time to write. I got sucked into my TV shows, I started exercising every day, and looking for a more permanent job. And yet I still called myself a writer. Because the one thing that really brings me joy despite my circumstances is writing. But I wasn’t doing it.  So the number one piece of advice, perhaps, should always be number one. Write. Write what you love. Write what challenges you. Write and don’t stop. That’s what the challenge was about. It’s day 22 in the 30 day challenge and it will start all over again with the month of July.

So maybe, that advice doesn’t suck as bad as it first seems. But how does this advice reflect on revisions? Revising is perhaps the hardest thing I do. If I’m in my writing groove, and it’s flowing like a river, why would I want to revise it? After all, just keep writing right? This advice suggests, to me, that you need to finish something. It’s all very well and good to have a project and call yourself a writer. But if you can’t finish it, what good is it? Keep writing. Don’t look back, and don’t worry if it’s crap. Push yourself and give yourself a deadline to finish. Then set it aside. Rinse. Repeat. I have several novels in the works. Yet it’s the one scene, the one I can picture clearly in my head, and when I read what I’ve written all I see is failure. So I rewrite. And I rewrite. I need to push past it, and yet, somehow I can’t. I get stuck on the one scene that haunts me day and night until I get sick of the novel and set it aside thinking I’m never going to make it as a writer. If I follow this advice, it suggests me to not dwell on what isn’t perfect. There’s time for that later. I can polish it till it gleams like the sun…after its finished. First, to have a novel, it must be finished. Don’t worry about the grime that clings to my words right now.

Even better, it seems, is how fast the words accrue if you write everyday. I have averaged 2,000 words a day. Whoa. I’m not even counting the blogs. That means, if I keep this up, I’ll have written 60,000 words this month. That’s half a novel! And if you keep it up for a whole year?  More than 700,000 words! That’s several novels…and well more than half-way to the “million words” of crap. This may be the best advice ever.

Yeah, maybe this advice sounds a bit obvious. So let me say it my way.

Write. Now. Don’t let anything, even writer’s block, stand in your way.

Until tomorrow.

~Following the wind to places unknown.




Filed under Writing

9 responses to “Just Keep Writing…Just Keep Writing

  1. Yeah, I think the advice can seem deceptively simple. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of depth… like you said “no duh”, of course I have to write. But hearkens to the old idea that the best way to learn something is to do it. I think that’s definitely true of writing – doing writing is the best way to learn writing.

    Writing is one part art and one part skilled craft – and it’s the skilled craft part that you’re learning by doing. There is a skill and a craft and a technique to putting words together, to understanding what makes characters appeal to readers, to telling stories.

    What’s harder, I guess, is the art aspect of it. You can teach/learn technique but you can’t really be taught how to create art. That’s something you have to feel… which is where the “write what you love” part comes in – it’s not really going to be art unless your emotions are in it.

    The other part of this advice that’s commonly missing, I think, is to read. That’s the second-best way to learn more about writing: to read the works of masters who have gone before, and try to learn and understand what they did and why it works and why it doesn’t.

    • I agree that art is the harder part of writing is the emotion. Which is why I enjoyed your getting published series. If you really believe that you have a good product you should be marketing it at the higher/better markets. But also, it will reflect in your writing. Your self-confidence, or lack thereof, can seep into your writing.

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  6. knot2share

    I am not trying to be a writer, but I am really trying to work hard to write well! Many friends of mine say the same thing – to just keep writing. I have not been able to do that everyday because I am not sure what I can come up with all the time.

    A pingback from another blog, brought me here through a link to this post. I quite agree with your thoughts. And strangley enough, about one in a handful of blogs I click on, have the same theme – Pilcrow!!! Good luck with your 30 day challenge…another 8 more days to go isn’t it? I suppose the idea of having a ‘challenge’ makes the whole experience interesting

    • Thanks for encouragement. This challenge was about a couple of things. First, it was about writing, to make it happen, everyday, regardless of what it was about. Second, it was about challenging myself to go further and write about things that I would not have ordinarily written, push myself past my comfort zone. It does make the writing experience so much more interesting that way, like when one of the challenges was to create a paranormal object, I would never have had the idea had I not started this challenge (On a side note that object has now become the focus of a story about 2,000 words and counting). So yeah, much more interesting.

      The Pilcrow theme rocks! I like the old books feel and that brown makes me think of bookshelves. Maybe I’m reading too much into the theme, but I enjoy it, and have tweaked now and again until I’m satisfied. Good luck improving your writing. And, for what it’s worth, you don’t have to write everyday to improve, just consistently.

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