Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

So if you want to be a writer, why aren’t you writing?

Written By: Tracy - Jun• 09•08

I keep my books on my desk at work, partially because it’s a good opening to make a sale.  Quite a few of the folks who come through the clinic are readers, and those that aren’t will sometimes just want reading material while they wait on the doctor. 

I’ve noticed that maybe a third of everyone I’ve met will tell me that they thought about writing a book. 

Which begs the question: If you wanto to be a writer, why aren’t you writing? 

I’m amazed how frequently the answer is some variation of  I just don’t have the time. 

Actually, not having the time is a pretty stock answer for a lot of things.  Exercize, visiting family members, pursuing your dreams. 

The fact is, if you wait until you have the time, you’ll never have the time.  There is never a point in your life when the rest of the world comes to a hault to give you the time to do what you want.  Making a committment to something like writing is a little like doing the laundry.  For most of us, it’s something that gets squeezed in here and there between work, t-ball games and dinner.  

When I was in my teens and influenced by such things, I remember reading that Marion Zimmer Bradley used to get up each morning an extra hour early so that she would have time to write on a yellow legal pad.  Glen Cook wrote his first three novels while working on an assembly line. 

I always start my rough draft on paper.  This gives me time to write during meetings (and look like I’m studiously taking notes) while at lunch (when most of my co-workers are discussing Lost and American Idol), and any time I have an extra five minutes.  This is the point that I’m not concerned about how well the work reads.  The point is getting it out. 

By the time I’m typing it up, I’m in second draft territory.  This is where my story goes from yuck to decent.  Then I usually place it on an altar and hand a few edtor friends a sacrificial red pen with the instructions to make it bleed.   By the time they’re done, I have something resembling a story.

Writers are dreamers turned builders.  We dream castles in the air.  But then we do the work to put the foundations under them.   If you’re not writing, you’re only dreaming.

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5 Comments

  1. muses_circle says:

    I’m amazed how frequently the answer is some variation of I just don’t have the time.

    This used to be me, because to be honest, I never thought I had anything to say worth saying. Chalk it up to whatever, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m realizing that putting one’s dreams on hold is only leaving a hole where inspiration should be. While I might not be at the point to where I’m writing down stuff in between classes, during lunch, and talking to my mp3 player on the ride home from work (okay, maybe I’m doing the latter already), I’m happy with where I am, writing-wise. And seriously excited to see where I take myself.

  2. inspire16 says:

    I decided to go through this account since you asked for it in your recent update. Anyways, I am in complete agreeance with what you say here. You are right, people who want to write should write now and not later. Words of wisedom.

    -Adrienne