Yes, you did hear me correctly. I have discovered the secret. So, brace yourself, this is going to blow your mind.
The secret to writing is to Just Do It, Just Write. That's it; it's that simple and that hard. It's not a secret at all, when you really think about it. But I didn't know this. It made me realize that there are probably a million other writers, newbies and pros alike, who also haven't figured it out yet, who keep asking the question: "how do they do it?"
I'm going to tell you.
It sounds so easy (Just Do it, Just Write). But all you writers out there know that this isn't the case. You hear all your favorite authors talk about how you have to make a routine and stick with it; how you have to guard your writing time; how you have to dedicate yourself and show up for the job even when it's the last thing you want to do and the-world-is-ending-O-M-G-this-is-torture. And they're right, imagine that. You have to do all these things. You have to get up and drag yourself to the computer and that damned blinking cursor. You have to drink endless cups of tea and coffee and forget to eat. You have to wrack your brain and then come up with nothing, and then start wracking again. And you cannot stop. You have to keep going. It sucks and then sucks some more and then...yes, more sucking. You wonder why you even bother and if it's too late to opt out and become a go-go dancer. And then, all of a sudden, in the midst of all the suck, the clouds part, music starts up, and it doesn't suck anymore.
Yesterday, the very foundation that I built my writing career on shifted. Actually, that's too light a word. It flipped upside down. My writing has always come in great bursts of muse-induced inspiration where I could write for nine hours at a time only to then not write for another week or two. I told myself that I was covering so much ground during those nine hours that this pattern was okay.
Last night I figured out that it wasn't okay, and that I had it all wrong. Most days the muse doesn't show up, but I think I speak for all you writers when I say that on the days it does, it's like Christmas and New Years and Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras, all wrapped up into one adrenaline, sweat-soaked, caffeinated package. It's the days that the muse is gone, though, that really count. Sometimes those days are good, sometimes bad, sometimes they're simply okay. The point it to not shy away from the office just because the muse isn't waiting for you there. You might only write 3 words, you might write a 1,000. But every single one of them count.
I don't know if it's just me, but on the days where the writing isn't coming smoothly, I do some of my best thinking. Because let's face it, if you can't write, you're just sitting and thinking about writing. I think about my characters and why they do the things they do, I think about that one comma and if it really needs to be there, I think about plot and structure, and every other messy detail that comes along with writing a book. These days days count.
The days where inspiration is pouring out of your ears count.
The moral to the story is what they've been saying since the beginning of time: Just Do It, Just Write. Like right now...why are you still reading this sentence, GO!