Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"I've always wanted to..."

A man walked up to a concert pianist one day and, after listening to him play for an hour, said to him "I'd give my life to play like that."  The pianist smiled and said simply "I did."

So often, we writers are faced with people who say "I've always wanted to write a book."  And to them I ask "What's stopping you?"  A long list of excuses pop up ranging from time to money to kids to every other damned thing under the sun.  To which I reply "Well, then, you really haven't always wanted to, have you?  Because if you did, if it was really something you were passionate about doing, you'd do it despite the hardships."  Okay, maybe that makes me come off as an asshole, but I'll deal with that.  It's a valid question, and one that you need to ask yourself every day.  There's something you want to do, something you've always wanted to do.  So do it.  Get off your ass and do it.  Oh, sure, it's simplistic advice, but in truth, there's none other to give on the subject.  Let me explain.

If I were to say "I couldn't write a novel because I have two kids, three jobs, a wife, two car payments and bills to pay," I would never get another thing written.  Ever.  Because that's my mindset.  All the responsibility of the world heaped on my shoulders, and no time to do what I want to do.  But that's not what I did.  Without dropping a single piece of that list of crap (I still have multiple jobs, two kids, etc...) I still managed to find time to write a dozen novels, and have no intention of stopping.  How?  Glad you asked.

For me, writing is a priority.  It's not something I do for the hell of it.  Believe me, there are much more brain-numbing things that a person could do after work.  But because it's important to me, because it's something I truly have always wanted to do, I make time to do it.  Notice, I didn't say "find time."  I said "make time."

It applies to pretty much anything in your life.  Take a look at the things you want to do and ask yourself what's stopping you.  Is it time?  Family?  Money?  In my mind, the last one is the only one that presents any type of real obstacle, and even that can be overcome by shifting priorities.

I suppose the point of this whole entry is this:  If there's something you want to do, do it.  You can teach yourself to play piano, learn to ride a motorcycle, and, yes, even write a novel.  Those things that you are passionate about, follow.  Your friends and family will understand.  And so what if they don't?  It's your passion.  Follow it.  No one's saying it's easy.  Hell, making time to write novels and teach and work and raise children and be a family guy and teach karate and...and...and... *deep breath*  It's exhausting.  But it's also rewarding.  I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.  As frustrating as this business is, I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

Jump in with both feet.  Feel the water go over your head, and revel in it.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. Over the years, so many people have come up to me and said they would like to write a novel. However, they are just too busy and might get around to it when they retire. This always amuses me. Writing is so important that it is the first thing I think about when I wake up and my novel is always the last thing I think about when I am falling asleep. It may sound cliche, but it's true. I don't think people realize the dedication and obsession that a creative endeavor requires. You have to really love what you are doing to achieve success in these areas.Writing is not just something I enjoy, but something I need to do like eating and drinking. It means I have to make time, because like so many things writing takes practice.