by Dave White
Dear Every Relative, Colleague, Friend, or Random Person on the Street,
I'm going to lay a little truth on you. I'm going to tell you what motivates me to write each day.
I love to write, but it's very hard to find the time to write.
My fiancee and I are planning a wedding. I'm a public school teacher. For another month, I'm still under thirty and I like to hang out with my friends. Have a little free time.
Sometimes it feels like writing should get put by the wayside. It's tough to sit down every day and write.
But I do it.
What motivates me?
Sometimes it's an email from fellow Do Some Damage-er Steve Weddle dragging me into a contest as to who can finish the draft of our novel first. I love stuff like this. Writing is such a solitary job (and yes, it is a job) that a little competition can go a long way.
Winning or losing doesn't matter (at least that's what Steve'll say when I kick his butt). What matters is getting the book done. Sitting there every day and getting something down on the paper. Getting that much closer to the finish line. Finishing a novel is a goal. It's a marathon.
And if you do it every day it becomes a habit.
That's why it bugs me when people come up to me and say, "I used to write. I don't have time anymore." or "I have so many ideas, I should write a novel. But I just don't have time." And their tone is clear. It's I'm better than you at writing. If I were to sit down and write it, my novel would be the greatest thing ever and make yours look like dirt. And they sit there and wait for you to say something.
It's as if these people are coming to me for abosolution. As if I'm going to sit there and say, "You know what? You're right. You're better than me. You just don't have time. You shouldn't feel the least bit guilty that you want to write, but won't find the time."
Becuase that's just it. It's not a matter (for the most part) of not having the time. It's a matter of WANTING to have the time.
And guess what... until you find the time to write... you're not better than me.
If you really want to write, you'll find the time. You'll sit down every day. And if you are better than me, you'll be published. And you'll motivate me some more. Because I want to get better. I want to beat you.
And right now, you're making it easy to beat you. I just have to tell you how I wrote for another two hours after work last night and then watch in your eyes, how you get annoyed that you didn't have time.
There are a lot of writers out there that are better than me. That can write circles around me. And they also have the desire to keep writing every day. To find the time. I strive to be as good as these writers. I find the time every day to get better so I can come close to their talent.
But you have to do it. Discipline is as much a part of writing as having an idea. As putting the words on paper.
And that's what motivates me the rest of the time. The people that complain to me about not having the time. I don't want to become like them.
I want to finish my third, my fourth, my fifth, my sixth... and so on. And I'll make the time for it. I wrote my first novel between term papers in graduate school. I'm working on my third and fourth now, between calling churches, reception halls, and florists.
I know someone who has two really young kids (including a newborn--congrats!!) and is finding time to get his opus done.
We all have to work. We all have things to do. We all let real life get in the way sometimes.
But writers write.
I find the time.
That's how bad I want to write.