Pep Talks for Writers

We’re almost halfway through November. Are you frantically trying to catch up with your NaNoWriMo word count? Or are you just trying to get ahead with your work in progress so you can relax and enjoy the holiday season?

Whatever your goals, this time of year can be a difficult one for writers. So many distractions. There’s all the usual ones, of course. Kids, work, housecleaning, parents, in-laws, pets, etc. Plus those virtual ones, like blogging and Twitter and Tumblr. Throw in plans for Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for gifts, holiday parties. You get the picture.

Here’s the catch. Writers write. That’s what you do. Whether you’re multi-published or just slaving away on that first novel, if you self-identify as a writer or wish to, you need to write.

I’m not saying everyone needs to write every single day. Not all writers do. But you need to commit. Sit in the chair, pull out the pad or put your hands on that keyboard, and generate words. Some of the words will be awful, but you can worry about that later. You can’t rewrite or edit or polish until you do the actual writing.

So here is my pep talk for you. Every writer, alive or dead, had to start somewhere. They had a first project with a first sentence on an empty page. The second project started the same way; first sentence on an empty page. They practiced by writing. They became better writers by writing. They acquired new skills, new understanding of plot structure and characterization and setting, of pacing and motivation, by writing. They probably wrote thousands and thousands of words before any of their work saw the light of day or earned them a penny. They wrote.

Life will always try to get in your way. There will always be something or someone crying out for your attention. Sometimes you will need to address that something or someone. But much of the time you will need to be selfish and continue to write. Make the time. Make it your priority. If you don’t put your writing first, no one else will.

If you want to be a writer, write. Yes, you need to do other things. Read every day, good books, books of all kinds. Maybe improve your vocabulary. Work on your grammar skills. But at the end of the day, the one and only must-have to become a writer is the ability to sit down and write. You can do this. Write.

Should you want additional pep talks, you can find some great ones over at the NaNoWriMo pep-talk archive. But don’t use reading them as an excuse not to get cracking on that manuscript.

So? What are you waiting for? Go. Write.

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