Commitment and the Writer


Not to sound too philosophical about this topic, but there’s more behind the scenes, to use an idiom, than what might come to mind about the phrase ‘writing commitment’. This begs the question, of course, of what is that? Exactly? It means whatever you want it to mean –for you. Everyone’s writing commitment is different, in terms of how much time spent on it, how much research to go into it, when you can schedule, and how on earth you’re going to make your writing time distraction free.

There is no right answer here. There is one thing you need to do. There. I just made it super easy for you and now you can sigh in relief.

I lied. It’s one easy thing divided into parts.

My build-up to this easy thing is to say stop thinking about the distractions. We do allow ourselves all the distractions required for them to become our excuses to not write. There are more reasons why we don’t, but if we think about it like that, then we’re staying in the non-writing stage.

The point is to write.

For every up there is a down. For every distraction there is a focus.

Focusing your attention on the focusing on your writing is a long-winded way to say that focus is really the opposite of distraction. Part of that focusing means culling those distraction to a minimum. No, you don’t need to answer that call this very minute, no the dishes can wait (for those writing at home), no, your kid will not starve not having a snack when he or she whines for one right at that exact time you’ve sat down with your fingers hovering over the keyboard, ready to write –at last. Something comes up, something always does. They will continue to do so as long as we stay conditioned to diverting our attention away from our writing.

It’s also about priorities.

Committing to your writing truly means making it a priority in your life in as much as brushing your teeth every day; I promise this lecture is almost done.

So, is committing to writing more than just focusing? Yes.

It’s really about making writing your habit rather than that something special that you try to squeeze in. It’s backwards that way. Everything else should squeeze around your writing.

Committing to writing is about knowing yourself, too, and knowing what is conducive to supporting you to write at your best. Okay, so my mornings start out with an earl grey tea latte skinny. That’s my routine, and after the morning rush of carpooling and errands, I have my tea. It’s my signal to myself that I’m writing.

Well, I’m writing all the time, in my head, and so are you, but it’s no good there unless you’re an oral storyteller, like our predecessors. Your thoughts must leap from your brain to the page. Culling the distractions to focus on your writing by making it a priority, and engineering writing as a habit are the make-up of what that commitment to writing means.

End of lecture. Happy writing!


2 thoughts on “Commitment and the Writer

  1. I read a blog from Dan Wells about this same idea a few years ago. But it is so good to hear this message again. I don’t think those of us who are new to noveling can hear this enough. I struggle with the balance for energy to write (which I get from interaction with people) and spending time writing. I hope to figure out that balance soon so that I can write more efficiently. Thanks again for this blog.

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