"Lies run sprints;
But the truth runs marathons."
- Michael Jackson
Truths are the antidotes for lies.
Especially the lies many authors believe.
They are what drives our characters to do the things that spiral into
foolishness and adventure and wisdom won ...
or defeat assured.
They do the same to us if we believe them about our writing dream.
Lies can be fought with truth talk.
I AM NOTHING, A FAILURE IF I DO NOT GET PUBLISHED.
Was Emily Dickinson a nothing, a failure
because she never gave up writing her poems her way and was never published in her lifetime?
Creative writing is one of the best exercises we can do for the aging brain.
Don't take my word alone for it:
Jenni Ogden, a writer AND a neuro-psychologist has found it so.
Writing adds to the intellectual and physical exercises
that slow down the brain’s aging process most often experienced
by the forgetting of names and words and where you put the car keys – or the car!
Use it or lose it.
IF I HAVEN'T MADE IT (GOTTEN AN AGENT, BECOME FAMOUS) BY NOW, I NEVER WILL.
Oh, come on now!
A novel is more than just sitting down and cranking out a word count.
There are those little pesky things
like plot, and character, and pacing, and dialogue and so on and so forth.
All of those things take time to develop.
While you’re doing all of this as a budding novelist,
you are also most likely doing all the other things in your days that constitute your life:
A day job, spouse and family, hobbies and friends,
reading and television and video games and even (wait for it) sleep.
It all adds up — and it all subtracts from the amount of time you have to write.
Writing those three or four or five novels an average writer has to burn through
before they write a publishable novel will likely take years.
No matter who you are as an author, you pay your dues at one end or another.
To put it another way: it takes many years to be an overnight success.
Maybe you haven’t “made it” yet.
That doesn’t mean
you never will.
George Elliot didn't publish 'Middlemarch' until she was 52.
Anthony Burgess (published at 39),
Helen Dewitt published 'The Last Sumarai' at 41,
William S. Burroughs
("When you stop growing, you start dying.") published his first novel at 39.
("There is no great loss without some small gain.”), was in her mid-60s when she published 'Little House in the Big Woods.'
Marquis de Sade, (Ah, let's not go there!)
Raymond Chandler (published 'The Big Sleep' at 51)
-- all gained fame older.
Bram Stoker, too (Who didn't write 'Dracula' until he was 50)
and said "We learn from failure not from success."
Gee, I must be a genius!
I DON'T HAVE TIME
Does Dean Koontz have a magic stopwatch that stops time to give him 30 hours a day to write?
Let me tell you about Robert Louis Stevenson --
A year after Kidnapped he left Scotland and southern England for America
in search of adventure and a better climate for his tuberculosis.
Writing continued on land and sea at 400 pages a year for twenty years,
reckoned his first biographer. From one letter home a year before Stevenson died:
- "For fourteen years I have not had a day's real health;
- I have awakened sick
and gone to bed weary; and I have done my work unflinchingly.
- I have written in
bed, and written out of it, written in haemorrhages,
- written in sickness,
written torn by coughing, written when my head swam for weakness;
And for so long, it seems to me I have won my wager and recovered my glove....
And the battle goes on 'ill or well.'
It is a trifle; so as it goes. I was made for a contest."
So what is stopping you from writing?