6  Git’n ‘er Done

Stephen Crane wrote in one of his letters that he had figured out how to turn his writing on or off like a spigot.  He could write when he wanted to and stop when he needed to.

I haven’t learned quite that much control.  Once I get it going, the words will go and go.  I have enough things to write about that I don’t have to search for subjects, but getting over the inertia to start sometimes poses a problem.  I have a little computer game, and sometimes twenty minutes of that will get me going.  Sometimes I need to read a little first to get words going through my head.  A walk or some tai chi practice will nearly always work if I have enough time for them to get my brain waves working right.

Once I get ready to start, I have a few commandments–not Commandments, and they’re for me, so they may not work for you.  But they help me, so maybe they’re worth thinking about.

Get words down on a substrate, in print or on an electronic device, whatever, just so it’s on something–even if I have to borrow pen and note paper.  Then find a way to save or keep those words.  I’ve lost too many good thoughts by not writing things down in time or losing them after I did.

Try to spend more time writing what I’d like to write than what I must write, while always doing my best with both.  I can never know who will read what and what good it may do.

Edit as well as I can without going mad.  I’m the monarch of typos:  I fix every one I can find, but I’m always going to miss some.  I must live with that and not punish myself too much.  Also, a writer must know his or her bugaboos.  I write sentences that are too long.  I don’t stop myself as I’m composing, but when I edit, I try to cut long sentences into two.  Or three.  Or four.

Get work into somebody’s hands:  a piece of writing never matters to me until someone else reads it and likes it.  I don’t write for myself alone:  it’s too hard (I’m not saying that someone else shouldn’t).  Know that some pieces will get bad reviews just because some bad reviewers take great joy in writing them.  Keep writing anyway.

Don’t worry if a piece takes a long time to finish.  Some do regardless of how hard one works at them.  Lucky for me I don’t have to write for a living:  I have a job that requires writing, but as long as I’m working on something, that’s all right, and I will get it done.

Have more than one project to work on at once:  on any given day I may not want to work on one, so I can work on another.

Try to put something fun, funny, and interesting in everything, even in a (boring) prose report.

Keep working on bilocation.  Who knows?  One day it may work.

Remember that having time to write is a blessing.  I do.