The Price of Writing by David Brown
I have the utmost admiration for anyone that writes. Those that begin and complete novels are worthy of even greater respect. As pleasurable as writing is, it is also a demanding art that needs commitment, perseverance, dedication and sacrifice. The best writers find excuses to write no matter how good or bad the day is going.
When I began writing in 1999 I was still at college with no commitments other than my studies and friends. I’ve never been the most social of people so finding time to write was never difficult for me back then, even though friends were left forsaken. Being married, of course, changes a lot of that. Your priorities are different and the time you have for your craft decreases but you must still find a way to write.
This summer the Olympics are coming to London and in the build up there are many athletes telling their stories of how they first began their sport at a young age and have trained all their lives for this one moment in history and the chance to win that elusive gold medal. They have sacrificed parties and socialising with friends in the pursuit of their dreams without hesitation or regret. Writers are similar in the sacrifices they have to make.
I’m not saying you can’t socialise with friends or watch television if you want to but writers must always find time to write. There are many distractions at home be it music, television, the Internet, or your pets. It’s far easier to not write and to submit to a distraction than it is to resist life’s pleasures and put your soul into your words. I find a balance in that I listen to music as I write so although I am giving in to temptation I am still writing. That may make writing sound unpleasant, which isn’t the case, but there are some days when inspiration and passion have dried up somewhat or that accursed writer’s block has appeared.
The Internet is a terrible place to distract you from your writing, especially Twitter and Facebook but at least you can find solace in the company of other writers who should also be writing but cannot resist the lure of social media. Some of them, of course, will order you back to your writing desk which is always welcome. As a writer, I wouldn’t say I was the most disciplined. I like to have household chores and other commitments all sorted before I sit down to write. This is dangerous territory, of course, for if it gets late I may surrender to fatigue instead of getting some much-needed writing done.
With my first two novels I tended to write mostly between Friday evening and Sunday. The day job had previously eaten severely into my time. When I begin my third novel I am going to try a different approach, which is a target of 1,000 words a day. My feeling is that smaller targets everyday rather than aiming for large totals across the weekend (I sometimes wrote 15,000 words a weekend with A World Apart) will be more beneficial in the long run.
I have committed a lot of time to writing and in doing so neglected other passions in my life such as films and reading. My first two books were written with no particular plan in mind but somehow they were completed. This time round I want more structure and organisation in place. I’ll see how I get on but I imagine as long as the schedule includes slots for “distractions” I’ll be just fine.
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