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Moving In: Commitment & The Writing Life

A lot of people tell me they want to write, but they don’t know how. They ask me how I do it. To me, it’s like asking, “How should I live my life?” These things are very personal. It’s not enough to follow someone else’s advice. You’ll learn more from your own trial-and-error efforts, than from any self-help blog.

If you want to be a writer, you need to live a writing life. It’s not enough to put in fifteen minutes a day. That would feel like trying to live in an apartment for only fifteen minutes a day. If you want to write, you need to move in. Get domestic about it. Make the page your home. Whatever is truly important to you needs to have your committment. No B.S. Truly mean what you say and don’t kid yourself.

You know how when you move into an apartment, you need to first move in? That’s a lot like what beginning the writing process is like. You need to move in. Find the best furniture for the place. What books do you love? What authors inspire you? What topics do you want to tackle? Read the good authors and the good books whenever you can. Reading good books is fodder for the writing life. You can’t live without furniture, and you can’t write without other books.

After you’ve read your books, you need to take a nap. It’s a lot of work to read and to think, and sleeping is the best way to start writing. I recommend going to sleep early and rising early. For me, the best writing happens between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM. Regardless of whether its an afternoon siesta, or a late evening nap, a writer needs lots of sleep. Going on long walks helps too. Eating right is key. Coffee can be your best friend, a kind and caring confidant when the going gets rough.

Organizing your time around sleep, reading, exercise and coffee will bring reference points to your writing schedule—and you need some kind of schedule, a rhythm or liturgy to the day. It’s Saturday. Wake up. Start writing and drinking coffee until you are so hungry you can’t stand it any more. Eat breakfast. Write some more. Then go for a walk. Then brew more coffee. Write until supper. At supper, make sure you don’t eat alone. Nothing can breathe fresh perspective and new life into your prose than a night out with a good friend or with your family. Too much solitude not only leads to myopia, claustrophobia, and heartache: it makes you a bad writer.

Don’t get idealistic about how you write. There is no need to romanticize the typewriter or the quill and parchment. Pull out your laptop and open your word processor and write like you’re what you are: a twenty-first century American with something to say.

You’ve got something to say, damnit.

Say it.

Say it, or move out and stop pretending to be a writer.

—But then, if none of us pretended to be writers, there would be no writers.
Sherri Rosen & Tyler Blanski, Sherri Rosen Publicity, NYC

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 19th, 2011 at 5:27 pm and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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