25 January

Writer Kitten vs Writer Cat - Who Gets the Mouse?


Have you ever watched a kitten?

They chase and jump at any new and shiny thing that gets their attention... while their mommy cat watches... 

If a mother cat could manufacture a look of disdain at her hair-brained kits, it would be in this moment.

The mother cat knows all that harried jumping at anything that looks cool won't put a mouse roast on the table. She knows that only patience and dogged determination will bring home the mouse bacon.

So, the question becomes, oh, my furry wittle writer...

Are you a Writer Kitten or a Writer Cat?

Do you have umpteen notebooks or files full of started works that now sit unattended in some dust bunny laden drawer because the New & Shiny Honeymoon Phase wore off on those works, and some other New & Shiny book idea caught your attention? 

I bet your answer is a big old stinky Yes.

And did any of those unfinished works bring you what you dreamt of as a writer? Did they become actual books? Were they read by others? Are you making royalties off those abandoned manuscripts? Are those unfinished works advancing your writer brand?

I bet your answer is a big old stinky No.

So, at what point, my dear newbie, are you going to realize that you are addicted to the Honeymoon Phase of writing? 

You're not a writer. You're a New & Shiny junkie.You're getting high off the wonder of new ideas.

Because at the point where fleshing out those works became actual WORK (damn that 4-letter word), you chose to run and jump onto the next New & Shiny, like so much brain-scattered kitten, who will never bring home the mouse roast.

Ask that mother cat... 

"Is it difficult, boring even, and just plain slogging work to focus on one real meaty target?"

" Heck, yes!" that cat work say. "But it's the only way to feed my scatterbrained kits."

Writing isn't romantic, peeps. It's damn hard work. 

If after a writing session, your brain isn't fried and your gaze doesn't resemble that of a zombie from the TV series, Walking Dead, then you did it all wrong. You didn't put all you had into that prose. You were effectively screwing around, bathing in that non-existent romantic vision of yourself as a writer that, I will promise you, will never serve up that literary mouse roast, for you or anyone else, to feed on, vis-à-vis a real honest to goodness book.

I know it's damn hard to focus, day in and day out, on one single work... boy, do I know. 

You spend literally months on that one manuscript to the point of screaming in frustration... celebrating what good writing days there are, but more likely pulling out your hair during the bad. This, my friend, is where the literary rubber meets the road, and proves, above all else, that being a writer has more to do with being a bloody janitor than some kind of romantic notion of a cravat and smoking jacket wearing savant, who with smooth-as-silk ease plunks out the next Great American Novel.

But that is the reality. Reality feeds. Fantasy does not.

  • Hard work.
  • Limitless focus.
  • Patience like no other.
  • Humility to see your gaffes.
  • Courage to delete and rewrite, to fix those gaffes.


  • Drop your addiction for the next New & Shiny. Jonesin' for that high will get you nowhere.
  • Pick ONE unfinished manuscript to FINISH and craft into your oft dreamt BOOK.
  • And with every one of your future writing sessions, write ONLY on that manuscript. Nothing else. 
  • I don't care if it gets hard. 
  • I don't care if you get frustrated. 
  • I don't care if you end up sobbing in the bathroom. 
  • And I surely don't care if the Cookie Monster arrives at your front door with a freshly baked New & Shiny idea cookie. SLAM that door on his adorable nose! Tell that furry freak, you ain't interested! And go back to that work and FIND A WAY TO FINISH THAT FERAL BEAST.

Come rain or shine, stinky or just showered, with bloodshot eyes and prison pallor, you will CHOOSE EVERY DAY to sit yourself down, and work, and I mean REALLY WORK on that piece, until you tame it into that polished book you knew it always could be.


Today, when your writing session is done, head over to Goodwill, and donate that cravat and smoking jacket you bought for a zillion dollars at the Wondrous Writer Boutique. Some writer, newbier than you, whose head is still in the literary clouds, will be thrilled to grab those beauts. ;-)

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