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This is from Steven Pressfield today.
https://stevenpressfield.com/2020/05/keep-writing/

 

Quote

 

The great thing about working as a writer (as opposed to being, say, an actor) is you only need a pencil and a piece of paper to work.

Nobody can stop you from writing a novel.

It doesn’t matter where you’re working. You’re a writer.
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No one can stop you from banging out a screenplay.

Maybe you’re not being paid, maybe nobody knows who you are, maybe no one will ever read, let alone publish or produce your book or movie.

But you can KEEP WORKING entirely on your own.

I have a closet in my office. In it are thirty-seven screenplays. Seven of them actually brought in money, at least in the form of an option if not an actual sale. That means thirty (six months of work apiece) were technically for naught.

But those scripts let me KEEP WORKING.

With each one, I learned something. On some, I learned a lot.

If you have to take a gig driving for Uber or waiting tables at (a restaurant), it’s okay.

Keep writing.

Nobody can stop you from getting up at five in the morning and putting in three hours pounding the keys.

Or two hours.

Or one.

When someone asks you what you do for a living, answer, “I’m a writer.”

You are.

Keep writing.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Johne said:

Nobody can stop you from getting up at five in the morning and putting in three hours pounding the keys.

 

Try a five year old in need of breakfast or a cuddle. 

A husband/wife/partner  that has a work or family problem

The school/church/charity fete looming large and you still have not made or bake that promised contribution.

A terminally ill parishioner/friend/relative.

 

The guy needs a reality check.

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2 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

The guy needs a reality check.


"This guy" is a millionaire who made his money with his words. He came up the hard way.

Quote

 

Pressfield was an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital, fruit-picker in Washington state, and screenwriter.[1] His struggles to make a living as an author, including the period when he was homeless and living out of the back of his car, are detailed in his book The War of Art.[1]

Pressfield's first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was published in 1995, and was made into a 2000 film of the same name directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Matt Damon.[2]

His second novel, Gates of Fire (1998), is about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopylae.[3] It is taught at the U.S. Military Academy,[4] the United States Naval Academy, and the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico.[5][6]

 

 

But set all that aside - what he's saying isn't at all provocative. He's saying we can find the time to write and the only thing stopping us is our own decisions, our own will. Sure, things happen which interrupt our daily pattern, and we each have to deal with those things as best we can. We still each have 24 hours in a day and must decide how to spend those hours. He's saying that at some point, writer's write and for most of us, the biggest thing that stands in our way is ourselves. (This is hardly a novel thought here.)

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8 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Try a five year old in need of breakfast or a cuddle. 

A husband/wife/partner  that has a work or family problem

The school/church/charity fete looming large and you still have not made or bake that promised contribution.

A terminally ill parishioner/friend/relative.

 

The guy needs a reality check.

 

I agree with Johne, Shamrock.  The guys just saying that if you have time in your busy life, you should use it to write, that's all.

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Posted (edited)

Johne

No offence meant. The problem with blogs/article like this one is that in the writer desire to encouraging others they sometimes forget the real world and write as though there is nothing as important as writing. 

 

I love writing. It is part of my DNA but would I put it before my church or family. Nope.   It is that proviso that this lacking in this article. He may well be happily married, but the benefit of that does not come across in this article. That all I am saying.

Yes, he may have a healthy bank account but how healthy is his emotional bank account? As a writer you have to make a choice just how selfish you are prepared to be. 

Edited by Shamrock
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I don't think so, Shamrock.  I detect none of that in him.  I think you're reading too much into it, I might humbly suggest.

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I also have to disagree.  I regularly go through cycles of creative output and burnout.

 

I USED to have it down to a ritual, until some idiot ate bat wings in Wuhan...

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Just now, suspensewriter said:

Yes, but now think of all the time you have to write!

There is a lot of opportunity in this current situation if we're willing to seize it!

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Yep. I miss my “old life” for sure, but there’s nothing like a lockdown/quarantine to make me want to write.

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14 hours ago, Johne said:

But you can KEEP WORKING entirely on your own.

I have a closet in my office. In it are thirty-seven screenplays. Seven of them actually brought in money, at least in the form of an option if not an actual sale. That means thirty (six months of work apiece) were technically for naught.

But those scripts let me KEEP WORKING.

Love it. Thanks so much for sharing, @Johne. Grit, determinination and stick-to-itiveness make all the difference. This is the mindset that leads to success in writing. I wish I'd learned this lesson thirty years ago!

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Echoing "yes!" to the quarantine opportunity, even though it actually means more work for me to have a person home who is usually not for much of the day. Pressfield's article is a nice reminder. I want to finish my rough draft by the time my host country lets us back out to try to find normal. 

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4 minutes ago, Carolyn W said:

I want to finish my rough draft by the time my host country lets us back out to try to find normal. 

 

That is my goal too. To get the 1st draft of Granny Annie completed. 

 

Reflecting on my comments earlier - my concern with the article is simply that some writers do put their craft before people. Very few make a living out of it. Even someone like Stephen King recognises the need for writers to have for their loved one. The article just came across to strong to me but that is my take on it.

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Before I was married and had children, I had much more time on my hands and desired to write - but did not. I did not start to write until I was married and had three small children, when I had the least amount of time I will ever have. 

 

I am and have always been terrible at time management, yet my coworkers and friends marvel at how I have been able to complete five books, and have large chunks of three others underway. Not that I make any money at it - that man in the article has a real achievement beyond what I have learned - but I find that mixed in with the selfish pleasure I get from it, I have used my writing to explore the following:

 

  - What are the big questions in life I need to first know and then answer?

  - What are the most important spiritual treasures I should pursue, and how?

  - How do I find the spiritual fortitude to overcome adversity and endure suffering?

  - What is the path to a life of peace?

  - What is a concise description of the path of spiritual growth, its obstacles and how to overcome them?

  - How did the Lord save me and deliver benefits to me, and can I share this with others?

 

The things I have learned by researching and writing over the last 16 years - the fiction and the nonfiction - have steadily transformed my life. I don't know if I would have learned those things any other way. Driving kids around, shopping, helping with homework, hugs and trips to the zoo - there was no way those things wouldn't have happened. That is part of being a parent, and as a Christian, a vital part I take seriously. But writing? I had to go out of my way to do that. Everybody needs to have something they go out of their way to do, something that does not come for free, something that does not easily fit into their schedule. It is not and should not be writing for all people, but for those whom it is, there is a way, and it is worth fighting to find that way.

 

 

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