Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day

(And no, that does not mean I will post a writing quote every day. But I surely could. There are a LOT of writing quotes out there!)

"Just write. If you have to make a choice, if you say, Oh well, I'm going to put away the writing until my children are grown, then you don't really want to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, you do your writing. If you don't do it, you probably don't want to be a writer, you just want to have written and be famous -- which is very different."

--Jane Yolen

Hm. Now, on the one hand, yeah. Totally. But on the other hand, this quote lacks a certain empathy. I mean, it doesn't account for the way fear and paralysis can make some of us tell ourselves stupid things and rationalize writing away. It doesn't mean we're only after the fame. It might mean rather that we have issues, are afraid of failure, have tricky high-strung brains, etc. I do have empathy for all those things, and yet, Jane Yolen is totally right. If you are going to be a writer you must find a way to do your writing. You just must. There are few among you (by which I mean people who find the time to read blogs :-) who really and truly couldn't carve out some time. I had a thought recently, driven by baby schedule desperation, that maybe I would have to get up from like 2 am to 4 am, guaranteed baby sleep hours, to write. I didn't do it, haven't had to yet, but I could and I suppose will, if necessary. Instead, I'm having a second cup of evening coffee right now (9:30 pm) and hopefully will have several hours of productive brain + sleeping baby to work with. Fingers crossed!

Now, to work!


jaecy bells said...

I'll admit it. I AM THE WORST. I am a horrible, horrible procrastinator. It took me, like, two YEARS to finish my first draft. I wrote, like, half of it in the year and a half and the rest one summer when I decided to buckle down. I'm busy during the year. I'm so bad at finding time in a day to write.

It's not like revisions are exactly tempting, either. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO REVISE.


But thanks for the quote!

Faith Pray said...

Compared to the sensory deprivation chamber in your last post (writer's heaven), the sleep deprivation chamber sounds like hell. But hey, whatever helps you write! Your determination inspires me. I may not be able to swing 2 a.m. but the late night sessions could be the trick! Good luck!

Heather said...

I pulled out my WIP that I was doing for your mini wrimo and read it through squinted eyes, with that squinched up face that you make when you know something is going to hurt. I realized it isn't as hideous as I thought. I am my own worst enemy right now with the inner critic. TOTALLY going to take some writing classes to lend me focus in September when everyone is neatly tucked away at school again. The baby is on his way to Kindergarten and Kinder Care. Woooooooo!

janeyolen said...

Thanks for the shout out, and just to add:

I remember a friend who gave my husband a special 39th birthday present. She did belly dancing as a profession and asked me if I thought she could do a dance for him at his party. I thought it a terrific idea.
Overheard one woman say to another, "Yeah--I could look like that, too, if I hadn't had my two children." And I sidled up and said quietly, "She has had THREE children."

Well, folks, I wrote through three kids the first two 21 months apart, the last one 2 years & three weeks after his brother. Wrote through one dying father living with us, a husband going through tenure. The point is that life always intrudes, takes over, shakes you up, flings you down, tromps all over your writing time. The writer writes.


Laini Taylor said...

Eek!! Jane Yolen commented on my blog!! I love that anecdote about the bellydancer (would like to have seen the face of that woman as she processed that bit of information; sour much?), and as for finding a way to always write, you are awesome. I gave my first-ever keynote at an SCBWI conference last week, and I quoted you saying, "Write the damn book," which has been my mantra ever since I heard you say it in Los Angeles a few years ago. Thank you for setting a good example!

Stella said...

Amen to what Jane said. We can always find excuses NOT to do something. Nobody is impressed. Often it takes guts and ingenuity to carve out some time to pursue your dreams but it can be done.

storyqueen said...

Great post, Laini!

And you are right, we somehow find a way to do the stuff we really need to do.

(I have to say, that middle of the night writing thing sounds painful...I hope you don't have to resort to it.)


Katie Anderson said...

I love this quote and in addition, "The writer writes."

Well said!

Great post!

ChristyG said...

Yes! I have "Write the damn book" printed out and taped just above my computer, thanks to inspiration from your blog! For years I daydreamed and thought more about writing than actually writing. Then one day I realised that I wouldn't get published by only daydreaming about it. I struggle constantly with procrastination, though. *sigh*

tone almhjell said...

Saved by 'Not for robots', yet again. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one thinking that Mrs. Yolen's comments could be said in a much gentler fashion, and still have the same effect? Surely such a talented, and apparently dedicated, writer, could craft her words in such a way as to leave the reader inspired and enthusiastic, rather than chastised and ashamed.

Megan said...

Thanks for the kick in the butt. Absolutely needed it right now.

While I'm here, I'd like to add that you replying to my last comment during March really made my day and motivated me so much. I also want to thank you for starting the March mini Nano, because it got me working after months of procrastination and my draft wouldn't be where it is now if not for you. So, thank you! :)

Gina said...

I have to admit that my most productive writing time was when my children were very young. I was driven by the lack of free time to stay up late, get up early, and use every free second productively. I didn't have time to question myself.

I completely agreed with the QOD but even more deeply agree with what Jane Yolen actually said here in comments. Life tromps all over you indeed! There will never be a shortage of reasons for putting off writing. Babies need attention, toddlers demand it, children wheedle it from you, teenagers require a different but even higher degree of attention, parents get sick, spouses have life threatening accidents, and even our own bodies betray us. Through all of it there will be a constant.. we will write or we will not.

I wish I could have been at the SCBWI conference! It was fun to follow along virtually through the Chinook blog posts but being there would have been better.