Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Advice to Writers: Quit Whining

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jun• 10•16

glass-blowingThere’s a lot of whining among writers. I’ve never quite seen the like among other groups; say among plumbers or glass blowers or dentists. We seem to believe that kvetching is part of the writing lifestyle.

We think wrong.

And heaven knows there’s a lot of procrastinating and wasting time. Not to mention all the precious hours we spend yakking about the writing, rather than doing the writing.

You need to adopt a pragmatic, problem-management frame of mind. You need to freaking get it.  You need to be feet-on-the ground practical and the architect of  habits that put words on the page and makes your goals a reality. Stop whining to other writers about how things aren’t going well or how the deck is stacked against you.

Close down this crazy circus that is populating your head and move on.

Writing is a job, plain and simple.

And since we realize it’s a job, not a dance among celestial bodies, roll up your proverbial sleeves and get down to it.

You also need to face the reality that some days of writing are going to pretty much suck. In fact, I can guarantee these days of suckiness will happen, just as sometimes your stories will go nowhere and you cannot for the life of you stop using adverbs and making typos and geeky amateurish mistakes that make it look like a drunken chimpanzee seized control of your keyboard.

moon phasesSometimes your drafts won’t work out because you don’t yet possess the techniques or skills to bring it to fruition. Learn those techniques. Everybody’s work hits snags from time to time. Sometimes you discover that the idea or story that seemed perfectly clear in your head is, in fact, an incoherent mess on paper. If you want to, then you’ll find a way around these snags, and sometimes even enjoy circumventing them. You might need to backtrack, dig deeper into your themes, or come to know your character better.

Because writing and accessing words is not moonbeams and magic, and it’s certainly not accomplished by wand-waving ease. In fact, ease and writing probably don’t belong in the same sentence.

And  don’t freak out along the way. Face head on the big, messy emotions that crop up while writing.

Because writing can transform a wisp of an idea or remembrancecastle chalk drawing into a complex,  fully-imagined tale which when you think about it, is pretty amazing. And it can transport you from the slog of daily life. It can become lasting and true, especially in a hurry-up  and noisy world.

Writing and storytelling are an ancient magic, a tangible magic.   So stop the pity, the angst and just get on with it.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

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  1. Nancy says:

    I need to hire you. Fast.

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Nancy Martin,
      You are my dream writer Ms. Martin. Hope you’re having grand writing days.

  2. Thanks for this, Jessica; a good reminder. I feel fairly disciplined but there is a part of me that holds back on what may be “more important” pieces while I write a way, posting short stories, poems and creative nonfiction on my blog. Then I think: I am learning every day. I write and revise more and some of it is okay while some of it it better and so on it goes. I do have readers…but I still have much work to do. Time feels short but I welcome the work. I choose not to whine! I love writing!

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I love writing too, but have natural whining tendencies. More about life, than writing. And what amazes me about life–truly does–is how I continue to learn every day. Isn’t it grand? Best, Jessica

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