“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” ~E. L. Doctorow
I used to believe that I had no time to write. As a high school librarian, my day is busier than one might expect. It should be, really, if you’re doing a good job. I do have brief moments of downtime, though, and I finally learned to take advantage of this. I used to fill this time by reading random articles online. Unless they are about librarianship, though, that is definitely not a productive use of my time (although I do learn quite a bit of general information, so…I’ll still keep doing this every once in a while). Now, if I have time on my hands, I spare a few minutes here, a few minutes there and, eventually, I have sentences and paragraphs strung together into something that someone might want to read.
The point is, you can’t “plan” to write. You just have to do it. I’ve been telling myself this for years. I have so many synopsis and outlines for screenplays and stories (which, if more thought is put into it, could be novels!), but nothing has really, actually been finished. I have a screenplay that I’m working on right now, editing it to perfection, so that I can have a completed 1st draft. It’s not finished yet, though. It won’t be until I say it is. This novel that I plan…oops…that I’m going to write in November, may very well turn into a screenplay when I get down to it, but I have to get down to it!
In saying this, if you’re going to be a writer, you ultimately have to hold yourself accountable for your writing. If you have a busy life full of work, exercise (I personally practice yoga and Nia), take care of a home, and also try to have a fulfilling social life, you really have to make time to write. I used to say that I only had time to write when I had school breaks, but that simply isn’t true. I don’t even have the excuse of kids to distract me from my passion. I have time to write whenever possible, but I simply have to make myself do it. Sometimes it can be a chore. Sometimes I have to stop myself from just plain goofing off and direct that energy to putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. It’s a daily reminder, like taking vitamins or doing that exercise. You have to put it into your daily routine to make it a habit.
So, with that being said, if you are going to be a writer, like E.L. Doctorow says, you must write. Stop planning on someday and make it happen today. Yes, if you’ve made it this far in the post, you have found that I am really speaking to myself as much as anyone else out there. What are you waiting for? Get to it!