Saturday, October 26, 2013

On Deadline

Do you expect to keep writing after you’re dead? Bear with me here. This is not a religious or philosophical question. It is pure practicality.

Whatever your religious beliefs, whether they include heaven, hell, purgatory, a specific number of virgins, reincarnation, dancing angels, Karma, or blood sacrifice, they probably do not include extra innings to finish that story you have in your head.

You’ll find good advice from experienced writers about how you should spend X hours a day, or write X words, even on holidays and Mondays. That’s all about discipline. It’s a way to get something done.

My advice, today, is about why you should write, not how you go about it. You should write because the story in your head will turn to dust when the lights go out. No one will know it ever existed if it was just a conversation you’ve been having with yourself for the past 20 years. Get it out. Put it on paper. Sleep better at night.

Do not wait until the story is perfect inside your head. You will wait too long. Write it down in all its imperfection, then perfect it. You’ve heard of rewriting, haven’t you? You know you will improve it every time you comb through it and that your editor will improve it some more.

What are you waiting for? Why do you think they call it a deadline?

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