Welcome to the (un)official site for science-fiction and fantasy writer Bryan R. Durkin!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Putting Pen to Paper: Making the Time to Write

In my previous posts, I've attempted to make my blog actually useful to the writing community by sharing some of the processes and techniques I've learned for writing fiction. Today, I'd like to carry on that them by sharing what I've learned about making the time to write.

I often hear writers--especially those who are not yet published--say something like this: "I really should do some writing today, but I just don't feel like it. I guess it'll have to wait until tomorrow." Many people, even some who've been writing for many years, say that you can't force writing. You can't make inspiration cooperate if you're just not feeling it. Personally, I believe this is a myth. This belief is based on my own experiences in this matter. I don't feel like writing today, so it can wait till tomorrow. But tomorrow I don't feel like writing either, or the next day. Or the next day. Suddenly, it's a month later, and I've written little or nothing.

Folks, that's no way to become a published, professional author. If you want to make it big and get a book published, you have to actually WRITE. That means that sometimes, you're going to have to force yourself to do it, even if you don't really feel like it at the time. The analogy I use is that of working out, physically. I don't know about you, but I never really feel like working out. The problem is, if I don't work out, I don't get toned and cut like I want. If I worked out only when I felt like it, I might work out twice a month. But guess what? I'm still just as skinny and out of shape as I was before! No, you have to make yourself go work out. It won't be fun to start out, it may not even be fun during the workout, but afterward? You feel great! You feel like you did something! And it makes it easier to go work out the next day.

Writing is much the same. Often times, I just don't feel like. But I've learned that writing sporadically doesn't really get my anywhere fast. So I make myself sit down and write, at least five days a week. The length of time varies, but I accomplish something every day. And behold, at the end of those five days, I've written anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words. That's a lot of work! I'm then motivated to keep writing. And--here's the best part--I learn how to become a better writer in the process! The saying is true, "You learn to write by writing." (You also learn by reading other authors, but that's a different post.)

Keep in mind, I am not what I would consider a "professionally" published author yet. I cannot guarantee that if you always make yourself write, you'll get that three book agreement from a major fantasy publisher you've always dreamed about. But I dare say you've got a heck of a better chance if you train yourself to write regularly, rather than just following your random whims on a daily basis.

Next time, I hope to write about the writing environment that works best for me, and some of the things that inspire me to write. I hope you find this helpful. As always, please feel free to comment! I love to hear from other writers, as I'm still learning myself!

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