21 September

Writing - A Job Like Any Other...


The very best advice I received many years ago was from a prolific writer, who, being Scottish, pulled no punches, and that was exactly what I needed. No romantic BS. No cuddly positive thinking on how to be a serious writer.

"Show up to work."

That was it. That was all he said. But those four words forever altered my mindset. I realized that if I truly planned on being a novelist, I had better pull up my britches and get to work. Nothing less than that mindset would do because, picture the reverse...

Boss: Where are you, Barbie? You didn't show up for work today.

Me: Uh, well, *yawn*... I got up 'n' everything, but after breakfast, I just didn't feel inspired enough to go to work. I'll come in once I feel more "creative."

Boss: Okay. Then, I don't feel inspired enough to pay you. B-bye.

You could say to me in retort that writing a book isn't work; it's your passion.

Okay, then I'd say in counter, what do you plan to do with that book? Print one copy and use is as your own personal bathroom literature? Cool, if that's the case, but...

Chances are you're writing that book in some form to distribute to the masses for some kind of equal trade, be it company/personal reputation augmentation or for pure sales. And if any of these options are true, let me welcome you to your new job... as a writer!

As with any other career in existence on this Blue Marble, at some point you have to decide to commit, and clock in for work. To look at a career any other way is to look not at a career, but a hobby. Plain and simple. Hobbies are cool, but they never pay the bills. I could wax more poetic here, but I'm taking a page from the Scottish writer's book — less BS is better.

So... rain or shine, or your dog ate your pages, or you sneezed on them from a cold, sooner or later, you need to drag your butt in front of the page and start working to create that product for trade.

Likewise, the other ditty writers know well is, "Inspiration finds you working." It's become a long held adage because it's true.

Some days, I can wake up, and feel like 4-star poo-poo, but once I drag my carcass to the keyboard, the stinky feel lifts and my writer brain engages, and in mere minutes I forget I felt like poo-poo at all. Fact.

Believe me when I say that writing requires a mind shift more than it requires anything else. Once you realize writing is a career, your perspective on the work changes, and you take your effort more seriously. In other words, you COMMIT to the endeavor. A waffler, you are no more.

HOMEWORK: Let that sentence, "Show up for work" sink in, and starting today, begin to look at that book you want to complete as a product to trade to benefit your reader, and you. Once you allow your mindset to see this métier as a job commitment, your habits will follow along, too, and you as your own boss won't fire your butt.

Okay then, shall we? PUNCH THAT TIME CLOCK! We have words to weave...

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