Writers Write

“Remember, a writer writes . . . always.” – Billy Crystal as Larry Donner in Throw Mamma From the Train

For a long time I’ve wanted to be a writer. I’ve dreamed of it ever since I became a dedicated reader in my early teens. At first I wanted to write science fiction books, then any book, then much later a book on religion. Then came the Internet and blogs. That made it easy. Well, kind of.

If you google anything about how to become a writer, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll see is basically the above quite – over and over that’s the theme. Of course you also have to do other things if you want someone other than your mom to read it (and if you don’t, that’s fine too – many people write in a journal or diary and never show it to a soul – that can be quite fulfilling). But if you do want to be widely read, you have to get out there. None of that is hard, given time and patience and hard work. What’s hard is the actual writing.

As I was working on the early stages of this blog, I ran across this gem about author Anthony Trollope, which I’ve found to be absolutely true:

He woke in darkness and wrote from 5:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M., with his watch in front of him. He required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. If he finished one novel before eight-thirty, he took out a fresh piece of paper and started the next. The writing session was followed, for a long stretch of time, by a day job with the postal service. Plus, he said, he always hunted at least twice a week. Under this regimen, he produced forty-nine novels in thirty-five years. Having prospered so well, he urged his method on all writers: ‘Let their work be to them as is his common work to the common laborer. No gigantic efforts will then be necessary. He need tie no wet towels round his brow, nor sit for thirty hours at his desk without moving,—as men have sat, or said that they have sat.’

While affirming the importance of that kind of discipline a friend pointed out that “perhaps the ‘just write, baby!’ school was assisted somewhat in his case with a large dollop of creative genius.” While that’s true, I think that anyone with any writing talent can strengthen it by, well…just writing!

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