Monday, July 17, 2006

More ranting: balance

Okay, more on the rant from last week. The flip side.

It was NOT about you (except for that one person it was about, but I know she doesn't read this blog, so you're all safe).

I was truly amazed how many of my writer friends identified with that rant, and thought it either was about them or could be. Nearly all of them. Wow. Apparently I have hit smack on another writer insecurity:

I do not work on writing as hard as I should. I am not a "real" writer.

This is B.S. This is just your guilt and insecurity talking. If you are taking time out of the rest of your life on a regular basis to work on writing, you are a writer. If you need to write, if you get itchy when you stop writing, you are a writer. Do you think about your characters while you're doing other necessary life tasks? Do you get excited at a new bit of research, or a plot development? Uh-huh, that's what I thought. Writer.

I sincerely believe that you do not have to write every single day to qualify as a writer. You do have a life; many of you have kids and spouses and jobs. Those things are vitally important and your responsibility, and you can't give them up completely to sit at your computer for 8 hours a day.

Does it sound like I'm arguing the opposite side of what I said before? Well, I'm not. What I said (or what I meant) was that you need to be committed to writing. You need to take it seriously. And most important, if you want to succeed in the end, you need to not give up. Don't give yourself guilt for living your life, just include writing as one of the important things.

There is a balance here, people. Find the balance. And stop guilting yourself over what you haven't done. Do the best you can at all parts of your life, stay focused, and TRY. That's all it takes.

Medieval Word of the Day: iwurche: To work; to make; to do.


Sara Walker Howe said...

Exactly. As Vic said, only writing is writing. Rubbing elbows with authors is all fine and dandy, but doesn't amount to a hill of beans if one is not also making pages and mailing them out. (*cough* Did somebody cry Woolfe? *cough* :o)

The only way to be a novelist is to write novels. As in, more than one. To do this successfully, one must have balance in all areas of life. And one must not give up when writing gets hard.

Signs that a writer is not committed (and is somewhat fearful):
-endlessly rewriting the first three chapters
-jumping to endless new scenes instead of making existing scenes work
-jumping to endless new stories half-way through the current WIP
-endlessly writing in new characters instead of doing the dirty work with existing characters

I guess the idea here is to know when to get to the end.

Speaking of which... I should get back to work.

Cindy said...

Ah. There you go again.

This "I'm not a real writer" is a pretty common thing, I agree. I certainly catch myself thinking that way regularly.

Sara -
Loved your signs. (I got two out of five...) (g)


Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Sara! Great comment. I'm happy to say I'm 0 for 4 on your signs. {g}

Sounds like you have the balance and the commitment down.

Susan Adrian said...


I'll bet everybody feels that way at the beginning at least. But hey, you've been writing for a while now, you're serious about it. Admit that you're a writer. :)

Amy said...

VERY well said - and you're absolutely right, about balance. Something I have to learn myself.

Julie K said...


Argh - balance? That seems to be my life lesson [g]. Makes sense it would apply to my writing, too [g].

Julie K

Susan Adrian said...

Julie--and Amy--

I think balance is everybody's life lesson. {g}