YOU’LL NEVER GET ANYWHERE IF YOU DON’T START
I was at the dawg park Saturday when my friend showed up. One of the subjects that comes up often is writing, and he’s been meaning to show up at one of our writer’s group meetings. For one thing, the dawg park is right behind Sam’s Town, where we hold our annual writer’s conference. For another, I just like to talk about writing, so that’s an inevitable topic if anyone’s around me long enough!
He’s had a long-time interest in trying it, ever since doing and enjoying some college papers decades ago. The thing is, he’s just not sure he could ever follow through with the effort. In fact, the last time the subject came up, he asked me when our next meeting would be. I reminded him once again, and he didn’t show up. I haven’t seen him for several weeks until yesterday, so I asked him what happened, knowing full well he couldn’t gather the motivation to get there.
Our discussion came down to the fact that though he has an interest, he doesn’t think he could follow through. He has several issues that might bring the effort to a screeching halt. I told him he’ll never find out if he doesn’t try. At this point, my guess is he’ll never get beyond talking about it. That’s okay. It makes for conversation while our dawgs scamper and play.
I’ve talked time and time again about inspiration, motivation and getting started. Do you have that idea that is brewing but you just can’t get around to developing it? Why? The usual excuse is that you’re too busy with something else. That’s a legitimate reason. However, what if it isn’t? What if you’re simply stalling because you think your idea is going to be too difficult? What if you think you’re going to have to do too much research, or the idea is beyond your expertise? Could be, but until you try it out, how will you know?
Most detective writers aren’t detectives, are they? Most thriller writers aren’t heroes going around saving the world either. Most (pick your genre or literary subject) aren’t whatever, yet they write wonderful stories because they do research, already have a smidgen of knowledge about the subject, or just an idle or more interest in it, pursue it deeper, and turn it into a big lie they can get paid for (or just enjoy writing about).
Every one of my stories contains stuff I know (or knew) nothing about when I started. I use the seat of my pants approach and when a situation comes up and I need something I know nothing about? Research. Do I come to a dead stop because I’ve hit a roadblock? No! Since I’ve already started, I have every incentive to go on.
To get back to the beginning, what if I have an idea for a story, but the subject is something I know nothing about? I don’t have that problem as I have so many ideas I can draw from. I’m always motivated to write. I just don’t have enough time in the day to keep up. As for you, what’s your excuse? Are you like my friend? Afraid to give it a try? My friend isn’t afraid to try as much as he just isn’t sure he wants to. The problem is that if he doesn’t start and find out, he’ll never know.
If you’re afraid to try, or just not sure if you even want to, how will you know if you don’t at least start? You may go two pages and figure that’s it. Or, you may go twenty and think, “This has merit.” If you’re reading this, then you’re probably already a writer. You may be prolific, or stuck in a rut. If you are in a rut, the only way to get out of it is to start. Stop worrying about being in a rut and start doing something. If it means changing direction, or starting something else, just do it. Nothing will ever happen if you don’t do something!