Painters paint, sculptors sculpt, and writers write. It’s what they call a no-brainer. Yet for some reason those of us who put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – often need to be reminded of this fact. Perhaps it’s the cerebral nature of writing that makes this so. You spend quite a bit of time thinking about writing prior to doing any actual writing. It’s an essential part of the process. But it’s also the easy part. Almost anyone can think about writing, but at some point one must start putting down one word after another into comprehensible sentences.
So what are some of the reasons that would-be writers don’t actually write? There are probably as many reasons as there are would-be writers, however there are a few that are quite common.
- They wait for that special inspiration to hit. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of communing with your muse, when the words just seem to flow. It’s probably why most writers are drawn to writing in the first place. But a writer waiting for inspiration before writing would be like an athlete waiting to be in the zone before participating in their sport. The reality is that the more an athlete participates in their sport the more likely they are to get into the zone. The same holds true for writers.
- They try to find time for writing instead of making time for writing. Everyone one gets 24 hours in each day. It’s not possible to ‘’find’ any additional hours. For far too many, writing is what they do only after they’ve gotten everything else done. If you are serious about writing then you need to make it a priority.
- They are not consistent about when and where they write. Not only is it essential that you make time to write, it can also be very helpful if you can consistently write at about the same time of the day or night. Many writers also find it helpful to designate a specific place for writing, though I admit that this can be a double edged sword. There was a time when I could sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil and write virtually anywhere. However, since I started doing most of my writing in my office, I find it more and more difficult to write anywhere else. As frustrating as that can be at times, I prefer having my designated writing space. Simply stepping into that space puts me in the correct frame of mind.
- They strive for perfection. Of course, that’s always the goal. However, one should keep in mind that perfection is rarely achieved. And if you’re just starting out, perfection will almost certainly be a long ways off. All writers need to recognize that they will inevitably do quite a bit of bad writing before they start to write anything all that good. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to fail.
As I said, there are probably numerous other examples of why writers don't write. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.