Ahhh, the final Monday of November! You all know what that means! (Yes, the holidays, but what I’m referring to is….)
THE END OF NANOWRIMO! *dun dun dunnnnnn*
Today is the last day for you to get those words in. Did you make your 50k? Good. NOW PUT THEM AWAY AND FORGET ABOUT THEM FOR A BIT (you knew that though, right?).
In honor of the day, I’m going to repost something I found in the archives. It has to do with having the time to write. There’s a lot going on in November for a lot of people, and NaNo is about making time for your writing first and foremost. Also, recently, there was a kerfuffle I will not deign to link to about some jumped-up self-published asshat who belittled everyone to do with a certain genre/category (IN THEIR MANUSCRIPT OF THE SAME GENRE/CATEGORY NO LESS, AS WELL AS AN INTERVIEW!) and was handed a six-figure publishing contract with a movie option after walking away from their day job with “an idea and a few pages written.” THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS, PEOPLE. THIS FUCKWIT IS AN EXCEPTION, NOT THE RULE. Below is a vintage ELEW Dina!rant on the very subject of how writing is a job, not some fucking lark you decide to dabble in. Enjoy!
*BEGIN VINTAGE POST *
It’s Monday and you know what that means?
Time for a Dina Rant!
I’ll wait while you get a cup of tea. *waits* Back? Ready? Okay, here we go.
I’ve ranted in the past about how to deal with rejection and reviews and basic professional behavior.
Now, I know you can’t fix stupid. You just can’t. But if you want to do something and don’t know how, what’s the logical thing to do? (Besides paying someone else to do it who knows how, that is.)
If it’s something you really want to do, you learn how to do it.
If it’s something you really want to do but it’s more work than you realized and less fun than you thought, well…that’s between you and yourself.
It’s the work I want to talk about. I hear this so often: “Oh, you’re a writer? I want to write. I wish I had time.”
Okay, I’m only going to say this once. Okay, I’ll yell it.
YOU DON’T “WANT” TO WRITE. YOU EITHER WRITE OR YOU DON’T.
Look, writing is work. It annoys the living hell out of me when I hear “anyone can write a book,” or “how hard is it to just sit there and type?”
Writing isn’t just about putting words down on a page. It’s about telling a story, and telling it well. It’s a lot more work than most people think it is, and like anything worthwhile, you have to put some effort into it if you’re going to make it work.
And that’s what so many people don’t get. You don’t “wish” you had time. If you’re a writer, you write. It’s that simple.
And that hard.
I know you’re busy. I know you’re tired or sick or have responsibilities, but guess what?
So does every writer you know. Every writer whose books you read…they ALL have issues. There are twenty-four hours in a day for EVERYONE, writers included, and yes, writing and learning takes time. It takes time that you’d otherwise spend doing other things.
That hour you just spent watching TV? Yeah, I’m writing. You could be writing, too. That two hours you just spent on the internet watching kitten videos? Writing.
The simple fact of the matter is, if you want to write, you write. There’s time. MAKE IT. I am sick and tired of hearing people whine about how hard it is, or reasons why they can’t manage it.
I am really, REALLY sick of people looking at me and saying, with a wistful sigh, “It’s so easy for you. You < insert whatever they think I have that they don't – time, energy, creativity, etc.> If I had ____, I could write too.”
Uh, yeah, no. No, you couldn’t, and do you know why?
Because even if you had those things, you’d still be you. You’d still be that person who needs something in order to do what you say you want to do. For you, everything could be done and ready to go, and you would still choose to Facebook or watch TV rather than write, then whine about how you want to write.
And while I’m on the subject of writing being work (Because it IS work. Any professional writer will tell you that.), let’s talk about NOT being a writer.
Fellow ELEW member Skyla Dawn Cameron says it beautifully in an old blog post of hers titled “I’m Not A Ballerina.” (No longer available as her blog has been redesigned. Trust me, it was awesome.) “You don’t wake up in the morning with a PhD. You shouldn’t wake up in the morning and suddenly be a professional novelist.”
Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean you should be doing it. If you think that writing is easy, this isn’t the job for you. If you want to get into writing “for the money,” this isn’t the job for you. If you want to write “in your spare time,” this isn’t the job for you. If you ignore all writing advice you’re given and you’re told repeatedly that there’s something wrong with your writing, and YOU DON’T WANT TO TAKE TIME TO LEARN TO FIX IT, this isn’t the job for you.
Wait, why am I calling writing “a job?” It’s not a real job! Writing isn’t a job! It’s something you do for fun and get paid for it!
Uh, yeah, if you think that, THIS ISN’T THE JOB FOR YOU.
You work, you get paid. I work, I get paid. It’s a job. I’m working for money. I’m being paid to write. If you’re paid to do something, you’re working. Simple rule of economics, there.
Writing is my job. For a long time, it was my second job. I’m fortunate enough now to be able to have it be my only job, but that wasn’t always the case. When people ask what I do, I say, “I’m a writer.” Then I get “The Look.”
If you’re not familiar with “The Look,” there are a couple versions. One is the “Oh how sweet you don’t have a real job” AKA “That’s Nice Dear,” and the other is “Writing isn’t a job, it’s being paid to play” AKA “You’re So Lucky.”
And no matter how many novels you publish, your mother will ask you when you’re going to get a “real job.” Hi, Mom!
*END VINTAGE POST*
I will conclude this month with a word from one of the greatest men ever to have walked this Earth (do not argue this point with me):
[…] While most writers I know devote some portion of their daily life to their craft, and a lot of writing advice you’ll hear includes “write every day,” that’s not always possible, and for some, not necessary. The point of writing every day is to develop productive habits and encourage consistency, because if you’re going to go pro with your writing, you need those things in order to make deadline. The whole point of NaNoWriMo (*ahem* for those participating, you have exactly two weeks to get your ducks in a row) is to develop those habits and make a daily wordcount goal. It’s to teach you organizational and time management skills and promote productivity rather than encourage you to create, though that’s a nice benefit. (We have already discussed NOT SUBMITTING YOUR NANO OPUS TO AN AGENT THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER. DO N….) […]