Every four years I watch the Olympics or at least some of it. I can’t help myself. All those smiling faces, so eager to “strut their stuff” before an audience of billions. Billions! When I think of the countless hours the athletes have spent practicing over and over over to get it just right, it takeS my breath away. Such determination. Such devotion. Such sacrifice.
Writers are in a way, athletes. We spend hours and hours in front of our keyboards, building and creating worlds to tell the perfect story. Practice, we hope, makes perfect. And so we keep at it, sometimes fueled by chocolate or caffeine(or both) hoping to ultimately “nail” it.- The big sale to the house of our dreams, the award ceremony(“I’d like to thank all those who chose my novel to be this year’s winner of the **** award….”)or the phone call from Hollywood(What?! Steve and Quentin and Ang and Clint are in a bidding war to turn my latest work into a movie? I didn’t know those guys did romance!)See what fun writers have?
But for those dreams to even begin to come true, you must P.I.T.C.H (Put It In The Chair Honey)and write. This is your “workout.” A mental one, but a workout none the less and one that needs to be done often for it to work. And yes it’s work. Hard work and often we make all kinds of excuses for not doing it. I’m almost ready to throw the TV out the window because if I turn it on and there’s an episode of NCIS I haven’t seen, it becomes a marathon evening of watching Gibbs and Ducky(David McCallum was a schoolgirl crush-obviously explaining my passion for men with accents) and no writing done. And then Not Writing becomes the norm, and that my fellow authors, will kill any career you want to have.
There are two reasons I’m writing this post. Number One is I know several writers who are already published that have fallen into the habit of not writing.This is sad, because they are good at what they do. They have a variety of reasons, most of them understandable, like taking care of parents or children or spouses, their own health issues, or just feeling overwhelmed by day to day life.Such challenges can put a damper on your ability to think creatively or even think at all.
But some of them(like my watching four hours of Gibbs and Ducky, and yeah, Abby too)are ones that can be shoved to the back burner. WAY back. I urge all my author friends to identify all such reasons for what is keeping them from Putting It In The Chair, and writing and getting rid of it. I can always rent those old episodes of NCIS and watch them as a reward for writing.
Because you know what one reward is? Financial Compensation! Another royalty check arrived in the mail the other day, and while I’m still not nearly as close to being at the top of my writing game as I want to be, that little scrap of paper with numbers on it(and the print out of how many “copies” had been sold)is reason enough for me to force myself back into the chair, or to sit in the “reading room” with the wipe board and dry erase markers-two of my “plotting tools” to work on my current WIP or start a new one or even drag out an old one, give it good hard critical look, and maybe change it to make it the best it can be.
So friends and colleagues, before I go to the gym, heed my words!(Can you tell I like Shakespeare?) get thee to computer, be it desktop or laptop. Vault yourself into the worlds you are creating! Make your work your personal best. Nail that plot and character! Bring home the gold! PITCH and write, write, WRITE!