No Bullshit…no excuses..no tomorrow. Right now…right here. Let’s do this. The work…the re-work….the re-write. Your story here and now…get it on paper and finish it. No more talking about it or reading the same ten pages in twenty different workshops. No more running it past your friends, your family or your honey. Put it in the mail, put it in the e-mail…lean in. This is the year you shit or shut up. Are you a writer? Are you a writer dammit? Then shut up and write! Go For It! Lean In!
A very good friend of mine who imagines he is a writer gave me a story to read. I’m not saying he isn’t a writer. I’m not even saying he cannot write. I am saying when you give me a story to read at the very least have one character in the story I give a damn about. I don’t have to love the character. I don’t even have to hate the characters guts. But I must find the character worth my time to read about. Mediocre will not do. Why would I spend an hour or two reading about a bland man with a bland life that has no drama and no surprises in it. Hell, I can see that in any office building in America, I don’t have to invest my time and money reading that. Have the decency to make him fall in love with a prostitute or find a dead body in his hallway. Give me something to work with. As a writer, unless you are writing for your personal pleasure or you look forward to never selling anything, ask yourself why does anyone give a damn about what you are writing than answer that question in your work. Jimmy gets shot in your story? Why do we give a damn! Stella got her groove back? Why do we give a damn! Answer that!! That is your story!! Make the reader love, hate , pity, empathize with your characters. Want to write a great story? Start with great characters! Than tell me why I should give a damn!
What if it all goes right?
What if it all works out?
What if the stars line up and good luck rains down?
What if you chase your dreams and it changes your whole life?
Yeah, what if it all goes right?
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
And so what will the new year bring? More promises to do what we didn’t do this year? How about a hope that hope springs eternal that we are all we need to be the best of ourselves. How about we not only finish what we started but that we do in fact start. How about a world in which our stories bloom and grow and transform the world. How about it?
“It’s interesting. On the one hand, I always dream of “total removal,” escaping to some beachfront hut in the tropics, writing in solitude, with nothing but fruits, vegetables, and WiFi to sustain me. But I’m not built that way. In truth, I can write wherever I find three things: silence, light, love. That is to say, I’m no good at writing under hermetic conditions, cut off from the world. I need to feel connected to people (my friends, my family, my husband); to know that at a moment’s notice, I can touch them, laugh with them, share a meal. So the trick is to leave just enough distance between my creative life and my emotional one that the journey out is never too daunting, the journey back never too long.”