Everything is Ready

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”
– Ivan Turgenev

When someone finds out I’m a writer, I inevitably hear about how they have a couple stories of their own lurking in their head, or three novels half-started, etc. Which I applaud, because I’m always happy to hear about fellow writers doing their best to write.

Rarely have I ever heard a story where they finished the work.

Sometimes this is because they’ve lost interest. Sometimes they cite the dreaded Writer’s Block. Sometimes they just don’t know how to begin.

J.A. Konrath declares that there’s no such thing as Writer’s Block. He also says you shouldn’t listen to people who say you must write every day to be a writer. Which I agree and disagree with.

Writer’s Block happens to me, but only because of the quote at the beginning of this post: I suffer from perfectionism, which means there are times when I want everything to be ready for me to write. I want to write, but some part of my brain tells me that the conditions aren’t right, aren’t “ready,” for writing. So I stew, fuss, and complain until my brain figures out that I don’t need perfect conditions to write, I only need to make time to write.

So I do agree with Konrath’s point that you don’t need to write every day. I’d like to alter his assertion, however, by claiming that even if you don’t physically write every day, you do at least think about writing. While you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, ask your characters questions to know them better. Study the people around you and note interesting personality ticks that could help flesh out your characters.

There’s no such thing as perfect writing, remember. There is always room to improve. So don’t let your need to get it right the first time stop you from writing. Let me tell you that you won’t get it right the first time you put it on paper.

Don’t let that blank sheet of paper intimidate you.

If you feel like writing, but don’t know how to begin, write about that! Write about how you’re feeling about your work, or lack thereof. Write about what you did today. The point is to get used to writing, in any form.

Like musicians, writers can only improve by practicing. This includes reading and writing a lot. When you feel the urge to write, just do it. Don’t let your fears crowd your ideas. The moment you put pen to paper, you are ready. There is no better moment to begin than now.

6 thoughts on “Everything is Ready

  1. I agree with Konrath, there is more than just writing that I need to get done. And I don’t always do so well splitting my focus too much. And I think in some people’s heads “writing every day” means writing rough draft. I have a novella that is almost ready to go out the door, another rough draft novella. A novel several drafts in, and a rough draft novel completed.

    I can’t write any more new words until I get the edits caught up on much of this other stuff.

    It’s nice to write every day, but toward what end? If editing is included in that, fine. But what about research, or other things that arent’ writing? Sometimes I go months without writing. Very rarely what I’m doing doesn’t even look writing related, but I always come back to it and there is a method to the madness.

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  2. I agree with Konrath, there is more than just writing that I need to get done. And I don’t always do so well splitting my focus too much. And I think in some people’s heads “writing every day” means writing rough draft. I have a novella that is almost ready to go out the door, another rough draft novella. A novel several drafts in, and a rough draft novel completed.

    I can’t write any more new words until I get the edits caught up on much of this other stuff.

    It’s nice to write every day, but toward what end? If editing is included in that, fine. But what about research, or other things that arent’ writing? Sometimes I go months without writing. Very rarely what I’m doing doesn’t even look writing related, but I always come back to it and there is a method to the madness.

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  3. I agree that you don’t have to write every day; I think it leads to staleness or frustration. However, I also spend alot of time thinking about writing: scenarios, dialogue, the characters and how mean I can be to them… It’s all a part of the writing process. And why, I suspect, writers were accused of being dreamers as kids.

    And when it comes to not knowing where to begin, well, where ever the images do. Hopefully, it will be a nice dramatic scene.

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  4. I agree that you don’t have to write every day; I think it leads to staleness or frustration. However, I also spend alot of time thinking about writing: scenarios, dialogue, the characters and how mean I can be to them… It’s all a part of the writing process. And why, I suspect, writers were accused of being dreamers as kids.

    And when it comes to not knowing where to begin, well, where ever the images do. Hopefully, it will be a nice dramatic scene.

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  5. I agree that there are other, equally important things that aren’t writing. Research, like you said, Zoe, and the thinking that makes our writing fresh, Jaye.

    That being said, I think I’d love to have the luxury of writing every day. And sometimes I do, even if I don’t actually write it down. I often find myself narrating vignettes in my day-to-day observations, as an exercise to keep my imagination fresh.

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  6. I agree that there are other, equally important things that aren’t writing. Research, like you said, Zoe, and the thinking that makes our writing fresh, Jaye.

    That being said, I think I’d love to have the luxury of writing every day. And sometimes I do, even if I don’t actually write it down. I often find myself narrating vignettes in my day-to-day observations, as an exercise to keep my imagination fresh.

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