Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:
Just two weeks ago I addressed how to combat fear of rejection when it comes to writing (WRITING AND PUBLICATION: WHY REJECTION IS NEVER REJECTION), but this week, I am going to delve a little deeper into why it is important to push past not only the fear, but also the excuses that writers like to give themselves.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are creative in some fashion. Creatives, on the whole, have a tendency to be fiercely intelligent, dedicated, and, erm, over-dramatic.
*Ahem* Yes, well, I don’t know about you, but that’s never me. Never. …Okay, so MAYBE it is, but only some of the time.
As I mentioned in my post WRITING WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW—LIBERTIES VS. RESEARCH, I had the chance to see Neil Gaiman speak live about a month or so ago, and he said something that was hilarious and simultaneously brilliant:
He said that writer’s are, in fact, so intelligent that they have invented a disease, and that disease is writer’s block.
“But writer’s block is real!” “I’ve had it before!” “I have it right now!”
I believe you! But at the same time that I believe you, I also believe that you are mistaken, for you see, what you are calling “writer’s block,” I can call a multitude of things: not enough time, my job, my family, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my cat, my video games, my obsessive cleaning when I am procrastina—
What was that last one?
Writer’s block is a lovely, easy, and permissive way for writers to deal with something we are also known for: procrastination.
Neil Gaiman, when I saw him live, said something else profound that night. He said that he does not believe in writer’s block; he believes in a problem. He believes that writers are presented with problems. But the nice thing about problems is that, by their definition, they can be overcome.
Think about it this way…
If you are working a regular 9:00-5:00 job, you are expected to get a certain amount of work done within that time frame. You can’t stand up, clutch both sides of your head with both hands, and shout, “I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK! I CANNOT CONTINUE!”
You are expected to get your work done, and find a way to solve the problems that come your way.
So, answer yourself this:
Are you a professional, or are you not?
Or, perhaps the better question is this: do you strive to be a professional writer or not? At the end of the metaphorical day, it is your choice whether you work or not. It is your choice whether you wade and struggle through a chapter of horrible writing in order to keep writing. Don’t let bad scenes get you stuck. Don’t let fear of writing something terrible keep you from doing the thing you were meant to do: write. The most important thing for a writer to do, after all, is write.
(Coincidentally, if you find yourself suffering from this arguably made-up disease needing advice on how to solve your current writing dilemma, you may want to check out WHAT TO DO WHEN INSPIRATION DOESN’T STRIKE.)
The most sound advice I can give you on the subject is this: persist. Persist in your writing. Persist in your passions. Because it is ultimately and often only those who persist who achieve the goals and realize the dreams they have had for so long. Famous authors were rejected hundreds of times. Don’t give up before you have a chance to get rejected, because often rejection is only there to give us a chance to persevere.
Alyssa Grace Moore
Go to Part Two! THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE: WHY WRITER’S BLOCK IS A LIE, PART 2
You can also find Alyssa on Twitter: @alyssagracem
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