Obligatory Reiteration: Writers Write (Or: “Welcome To Write Club”)

The Writer Writes
I wrote some of this on Twitter this morning, but thought I’d place it here, too.

You will do many things as a writer.

Writers think, dream, scream, flail, procrastinate, market, edit, email, caffeinate, plot, scheme.

Writers gnash their teeth and pull their hair.

Writers read books, drink booze, tweet tweets, complain about Facebook redesigns.

Writers share information one minute, then greedily hoard it the next.

Writers research, then forget research, or ignore research.

Writers know that the real question you should ask them isn’t where they get their ideas but rather, holy hell, how do you make the ideas stop?

Writers work alone but travel in packs.

Writers jump the gun and then procrastinate.

Writers make excuses and find reasons and act as their own best friends and worst enemies.

Writers feel frail, powerful, godly, small, frustrated, infinite, limited, bewildered, afraid, uncertain, brave, certain — we’re all wounded ego, surefooted on broken ground, craving respect and needing an audience, introverts who are extroverts who are introverts.

Writers jump out of planes and build our parachutes on the way down.

Writers outline and worldbuild and make spreadsheets and mind-maps.

Writers create and destroy hundreds of characters and thousands of worlds — all before breakfast.

Writers burn themselves with brands and build up platforms that they have to tear back down and they get agents and find publishers or publish themselves and find the audience that will in turn find them and they’ll commune with themselves and their hearts and try to find the words and stories inside them that can’t stay inside any longer.

But above all of it:

Writers write.

They write, and they finish what they begin.

Put differently?

If this is your first night at Write Club, then you have to write.

If this is your second night, or eighth night, or nine-hundredth-and-forty-seventh night?

THEN YOU HAVE TO WRITE.

The first rule of Write Club is you can talk about Write Club all you want, but it’s no substitute for actually hunkering down and doing the work. Writers write. Say it again and again. Tattoo it on your forehead backward so you can read it when you look in the mirror. Writers write. Writers write. Writers rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Ten words. Or a hundred. Or two thousand. As many as it takes in the order they need to be. Writers write.

So go write, writer. What are you still doing here?

37 comments

  • Writing, for money. Just took a minute to read what you wrote. It’s easy. You repeat yourself so many times. Writer’s write. Got that the first time.

      • Chuck, I read the comment in two parts. It is true, that writers that want to make money have to write. “Writers write. Got that the first time.” That says to me that Beth isn’t a writer like me. I don’t know Beth, but it’s fair to assume there are different types of writers. I am a person that lives a full and vibrant life in my head. It is where I operate naturally. I’m an idea machine; a constant day dreamer. Sleep comes hard for me, because my mind does not stop. I can sit in an empty room devoid of anything remarkable in complete stillness and solitude, and be entertained. I am thinking stories non-stop. In my case, I am a writer that thinks, daydreams, and researches. That is the part that is completely natural, and exciting. The part of organizing and putting it on paper, so that I am something other than a creative introvert that no doubt is afflicted with some undiagnosed clinical mental defect, that is the hard part. It’s the part I have to be told to do, like eating my vegetables. When I read “writers write,” what I actually read is – writers write even when they don’t want to if they want to finish their projects. When I read “writers write”, I read – you are a writer. When I read “writers write,” what I read is – you are creation, put it on paper or you don’t exist. I know people that write because they think they can make money by following a recipe, they will probably be more successful than me. I don’t really where I am going. I have to be reminded to write or I won’t arrive. I’ve been in my own head without writing since 0900 hrs. Six hours later and I haven’t even showered. I’ve been down the rabbit hole and back. That’s why I showed up here. I needed to be reminded. I probably also need to take some ritalin, and maybe eat something.

        • “The part of organizing and putting it on paper, so that I am something other than a creative introvert that no doubt is afflicted with some undiagnosed clinical mental defect, that is the hard part.”

          Oh my god this.

        • Hi there, soul-twin :) Some clever scientist-type needs to invent brain-recorders I think, or some similar device that would enable us to smoosh the contents of our head onto pages and go “There! THAT’s what’s going on!” In a way that wasn’t messy and hazardous to health, of course…

          And – er – *thanks* for your – erm, *input,* Beth.

          • Please God, let this happen – brain recorders. You might as well have said time travel. You can’t say things like that to me – talking about things that don’t exist, but should, or could because I swear if I can think it then it has to be possible. Yeah, you can’t give me something new to think about, cause that will unravel me for a day, or a month. I have no idea, because I have no real concept of, or feel for the passage of time. Brain recorders… *tumble tumble tumble down the rabbit hole*

          • April 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM //

            Aaaaand I need Dumbledore’s Pensieve. That way I wouldn’t keep forgetting everything.
            Brain-recorders and the Pensieve. Oh yeah.

  • What am I still doing here?

    I’m picturing a bunch of pasty-faced writers throwing down with each other in a grungy basement. It’s wildly entertaining. ; )

    (Also: YES TO EVERYTHING IN THIS POST. Writers write. Fin.)

  • Chuck, I SO appreciate your words and enjoy your writing. I love characters! I started writing as a form of catharsis so my writing is predominantly memoir style. I am going to attempt the A-Z Challenge for the first time as the challenge and your comments may bust me out of my square box… OR put me in a box, I don’t know which. Thanks for your inspiration… can I grow up to be a writer like you someday? ;-)

    • March 31, 2014 at 8:21 PM // Reply

      You too? I sometimes print out Chuck’s amazing words and put it somewhere I see everyday so that I am constantly being reminded to go write. I’d staple it to my forehead, but then it’s hard to see it. Plus, I hate mirrors. But I try. *gets off site and goes to write again* *gets distracted by little children* *slaps self* *writes* *gets distracted by shiny thing* *keeps writing*

  • I stand on the brink of the holidays, when it is unlikely I will be writing… much. Because with the holidays comes my transformation from literary giant (at least if all the other literary giants and any literary people around you are very small, or lego models except they might not be small enough but I’ve gone off on one again) to Mumzilla. Doubtless I will sneak away and feed my addiction with stolen sentences scribbled in a notebook.

    Writers write. Not just because they’re writers but because well… they have to.

    Cheers

    MTM

  • It’s comforting to know that all that other stuff comes along with the actual WRITING part. I took my computer to bed with me last night (much to beloved husband’s dismay) with the intention and need to write and ended up in research mode instead. I was kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t get any word count in, and then I read this.

    The other part that’s hard is that I have a full-time job teaching computers to K-5 kids. I have to be a Teacher, but I want to be a Writer, and it’s feeling like a struggle to be both, at least with capitals. I want to fulfill both of those and boy is it hard.

    • Research mode – that is what I call it too. I wonder what it is that makes people dig endlessly for information that branches out further and further until the net is cast so wide that you can’t quite remember the point. I recently organized my web browser bookmarks for the first time ever. I can only say “holy shit.” It was like looking at an insane person’s collection of stuff found while riding the public transportation.

  • What am I still doing here? Well, I’ve just finished my third commissioned play for 2014 and the customer likes it so I think I deserve a breather to read your blog (you did email it to me after all). After tea, I shall write, something else.

  • Poof, I am outta here to return to writing, which is what I was doing before your post caught my eye. Did I mention i’m easily distracted? But no more…at least not this morning (flexing focus muscles)

  • “Writers know that the real question you should ask them isn’t where they get their ideas but rather, holy hell, how do you make the ideas stop?”

    thank god you said that! That’s my problem!

  • Right on, Chuck. About a year ago one of the gals in my writers group called me up to let me know that her laptop was fixed, her kids were taken care of and she had several books on writing sitting in front of her. She asked what was next.

    I told her to write. She asked if I could recommend which book to read. I asked her if she had any stories lined up in her head. She told me – yes – but which book would be best. I told her to just write. Start getting that story into the real world. She thanked me and hung up. I’ve never heard from her again.

    It’s blogs like yours that kick the arse of those of us who, no matter what, keep getting the stories out of our heads and into the world so we can share.

    Thanks as always for your support!

  • I’ve been writing for a good part of my life… since i was around 4 years old when I knew there was more to reading than just a book given to me… I wanted to write, but didn’t know how to. Once I hit school, and teachers taught me how to write – well! BANG! It all made sense and I wouldn’t put my darned pencil down when I was told, I daydreamed through a lot of lessons which weren’t English, I had my pencil taken off me by the teacher (at which point I stole the pencil from the kid next to me; and when they stopped me, I brought a couple of pre-sharpened boxes and put them into my tidy-tray… and no, I didn’t share… they were MY PENCILS!).

    When I was 15, I wanted to get published… I wrote my first book… it was short, tiny even, and it was rejected. I had about 6 rejection letters before I sat down and re-read my book with fresh eyes and relised it just sucked!

    Now, I’m 40, have written stories, books (which I haven’t published but they’re finished) and novellas… and erotica… I’ve got in and written a trilogy called ‘Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter’ … I gave my first book to an editor who said she read it, but she got all the relationships wrong. Yes, the book is about family… no, not everyone in it is related. And I gave her Book One of three… I have had to keep on reminding her of this and she wants me to reveal everything secret in the first book. I don’t want to – as you said that in your list that we tell everything, then keep secrets.

    Now, she’s a great editor – the best I’ve seen and worked with – however, I don’t know how to tell her that she’s got it wrong. I did explain to her that it was a first book of a trilogy. This means, there will be things not fully explained, there’ll be mysteries in it that will keep people asking questions and there will be storylines not finished… I told her these things, but I don’t think she realises this.

    And being a writer, I find editors – not just readers – frustrate me. Hey… there’s a topic for ya to write about, Chuck… how much editors can piss us off. :P

  • writers write. we crave it. we are addicted to it. writers are born with words imprinted on their souls. i enjoyed this immensely. love the way you write.

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