e.l. james

Just write, dammit!

 - Photo credit belongs to my "wife-equivalent" Tammy whose support fuels my creative spirit.

I was sitting in Encinitas, CA yesterday, just outside San Diego, working on my latest novel #seductionatdaybreak, when I came upon a mental bump in the road. What was the bump, you ask?

Writer's Block? No. Story Failure? Hardly. Brain Fart? Likely.

That's when I got to thinking: Why am I, just like YOU, so hard on ourselves when it comes to our daily writing? Several thoughts came to mind; see if any hit you the same way.

We are afraid we suck.

So what if we suck? Do you think Hank Aaron gave up from swinging his bat the first time he tried to hit a home run? Do you think Michael Jordan, who he tried out for his high school varsity team but was cut because he wasn't tall enough, gave up right there? No. And, no. They kept practicing until they mastered their craft. 

Question: How Badly Do You Want To Master The Craft? 

Even when I started in Radio at the ripe age of 17, I sucked. Sure it was an "AM daytime station" with very little audience, and I played "beautiful music" on LP's, but that's what I really wanted, so I kept at it. Side note for another time: My childhood goal of hosting Morning Radio Shows in at least five of the Top Ten markets in America eventually came true. (Hint: LA, NYC, CHI, DET, PHIL)

Question: How Hard Will You Work To Become The Best? 

Point is: Practice Makes Better. I know the saying is 'practice makes perfect,' but what's "perfect?" Perfect to me is Really Very Good. Better yet; it's when I am personally satisfied that the piece is as good as I can make it. You ask another person; their opinion is different. I say, Whatever.

Who are you writing for?

Are you writing to get noticed? To get sponsored? To become one of the Biggest Bloggers on the planet? Are you writing just to get an agent, thinking they will do all the work later? Hope not, because that couldn't be further from the truth. Are you writing just to get published? What if it never happens. Do you find personal satisfaction with your work? Do you enjoy the creative process? Is that enough? Only YOU can answer this. For me, the joy is in the CREATION.

You're afraid you'll ever be good enough.

Good enough? In whose eyes? Who defines "good?" And is what they do (write/build/teach/etc.) "good" in your eyes? What if you simply "get a hoot" from writing? Maybe that's enough.

That's already been done before.

I know, I know...NOTHING is original anymore. True, but look at E. L. JAMES' FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Her grammar, punctuation and over-used cliches leave much to be desired. Does she care, as he driver backs her Escalade up to the bank where they offload all her money? NO! She felt a void and filled it, and continues to fill it. Read: The insatiable desire for more naughtiness.

Question: What If "They" End Up Loving Exactly What You Love To Write?

Do you think Nicholas Sparks worries about being a guy who's sweet, sappy love stories are original? Do you think he concerns himself with things like: What if they don't like it...What if they've heard something like this before...What if get tired of sweet, wholesome stories. NO! He just loves to write. And I'm sure he loves having them all turned into Hollywood Movies!

It’s All Been Done Before.
— Everyone

Your friends & family won't like it (or write a review).

Big deal. SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE will like it. And they will be the ones to buy, read & review. Note to self: Don't hang your hopes on friends/family to post a review for you. While I don't have the perfect answer for this, I'll just assume either (1) they don't want to hurt your feelings if they don't like it, (2) they're worried they aren't good at writing reviews, or my personal favorite, (3) they're "too busy."  Whatever.

My Bottom Line.

Write for the FUN of it. If you find any PLEASURE at all in writing, DO IT! Write for the PRACTICE of it, because you know if you put in the time, you'll get better. And who knows, eventually you'll be writing for the PROFIT of it, as people start lining up to buy & read your latest work.

You can’t be a writer, if you don’t put your butt in the chair. It takes Seat Time!
— me

Whether you write part-time, full-time, as a hobby, as a freelancer, or as "someone else," just be sure you're doing it because you ENJOY THE CREATIVE PROCESS.