Author Post: Writers Write

Enjoy today’s post by Solstice instructor and prolific author Dean Hughes. To register for Dean’s Solstice class on writing historical fiction, click here.

I meet lots of people who “plan to write someday.”  They’re going to do it when they “have more time.”

I understand the problem.  We’re all busy.  But what would you think of someone who said, “I want to be a musician, so someday I’m going to buy an instrument, take some lessons, and start practicing.”  We all know that doesn’t work.  Musicians make music, and they start young.  They practice all their lives.

My point is, a writer has to write.  The published authors I know all made time to write, whether it was convenient for them or not.  They practiced.  They often found ways to take classes, to read good writing, perhaps to join writers’ groups.  But above all, they wrote.

A friend of mine raised a large family and she published all while her kids were growing up.  She found minutes to write, not hours, but she used those minutes well.

I have another friend who got up very early every morning and wrote for an hour or two—for many years.  He has published dozens of books.

Some stay up late.

Me, I could never do it those ways, but I found—no, I “created”—blocks of time.  I had an adjustable schedule, so I could carve out days, even weeks, when I could put in a big share of my day, each day, writing another book.  But I did that when I was busy making a living, raising a family, fulfilling church and community roles, and living life.  (The first three books were turned down; I published my fourth.)

You see my point.  Writing is a skill that has to be developed, and it doesn’t come by thinking about it, talking about it, or wishing for lovely days without distractions.  Writers figure out a way to write, and they do it now, not when they “get the time.”

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