July 8, 2014

Excuses or Not, Just Write

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner.

Sometimes someone will say to me, “I’ve often thought about being a writer. I have many stories in my head but I just can’t find the time to sit down and put them to paper.”

I imagine you have heard that too, when people find out you are a writer. When I hear this, I can’t help it; I always want to say, “Well, not everyone can write. It is only for those people that decide not to make excuses. It’s just for the people who truly want to write. The ones who make time to sit down and put their words to paper. You know, only for the ones who truly want to put to paper the stories that are in their head.”

I don’t say it because it would make them feel terrible. Instead, I tell them the important thing is just to put the story on paper, and then after it is all on paper begin working with it, editing and rewriting until it says what they want the story to say. Hire a good editor. I go on to tell them there are some great books that will help learn about character building, creating dialogue, plots, scenes etc.
Then I hear, “Oh, honey, I don’t have time to read and learn all that.”

Yes, it does take time to work on our craft of writing. We’re not going to learn everything overnight. But little by little, we will learn as long as we think it is worth pursuing.

So, if you catch yourself saying, I don’t have time…rework your priorities…your schedule. Get up thirty minutes earlier or go to bed thirty minutes later. Set aside time. Begin. Even when the words aren’t making sense continue, don’t stop.

William Faulkner said, “I’ve heard people say, “Well, if I were not married and had children, I would be a writer.” I’ve heard people say, “If I could just stop doing this, I would be a writer.” I don’t believe that. I think if you’re going to write you’re going to write, and nothing will stop you.”

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