Monday, April 02, 2007

Story Vault: The Push

Indulging in the archives a little, lately, but normal blogging will resume shortly.


A lot of people want to be writers. The desire to express a story, and get paid for it, is an attainable dream. After all, there are no qualifications needed and no expensive tools required. All you need is a pen and paper, and your creativity to come up with a good story (that’s the hard part). Yet for the majority of new or aspiring writers, the most commonly heard phrase is: “I don’t have time to write”.

And they’re right. They don’t have time to write. It doesn’t matter who they are and what they do (frazzled single mother of four, hard working corporate exec, fresh faced graduate), the fact is that they want to write but they don’t have the time to fit it into their schedule. This is perfectly acceptable and reasonable. A lot of professional writers and lecturers, and perhaps even blogs, will say that the phrase “I don’t have time to write” is a poor excuse for not actually sitting down to do the work.

This line of thinking is an easy superior position to take. It’s unfairly focusing on the person’s perceived lack of commitment to stick to their goals. Professionals can sniff at the wannabes that the difference between writers and those who want to write is that writers write (I’m paraphrashing Martin Amis here). There is no question that this statement is true but just because someone says “I don’t have time to write” doesn’t mean that they’re slacking off from actually scribbling something down.

People work their ass off to make ends meet, pay their bills, feed their kids, love their partners - y’know life - and this kind of demand can drain the creative energy that’s necessary to write. In this instance not having the time to write is genuinely true and fair: “I’m exhausted, I’ll get to it next week.” However, the phrase is misleading and subconsciously damaging. It’s time for the phrase “I don’t have time to write” to be turned into a question: “How do I find the time to write?” The answer is The Push.

The Push is the extra drive and commitment necessary to turn the writing hobby into a career (or at least a regular hobby). It exists on two levels: one for the aspiring writer and the other for the professional. The aspiring writer needs to find The Push in order to discover their writing routine. The professional writer needs The Push when he’s obsessively checking emails every thirty seconds and staring in front a blank page for two hours. One is trying to find the time to write, the other is trying to make the best use of the time that they’ve created.

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