The Commitment to Write: Say YES!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” ~~Henry David Thoreau

Have you given yourself permission to really work? To invest the necessary time and energy you know it will take to achieve your writing dream?

Until you can answer “yes” to the following three things, your commitment to writing will always be a struggle. [The list of three things is courtesy of Vinita Hampton Wright's book, The Soul Tells a Story, which I've expanded with my own thoughts.]

You must say “yes” to the work, the process, and the dream.

The Work

Are you able to say “yes” to whatever work you feel called to do? It might be writing humor for young moms, writing insurance information so that the common man can understand it, writing fantasy novels, or writing screenplays. (Or all of the above!)

You’re not called to be rich or famous, although that might be nice. You’re just saying “yes” (daily, if possible) to sitting down and doing the work. (As in the B.U.T. technique: Bottom in Chair.) You don’t worry about the eventual outcome or what others think of your idea. You’re not committing to a set number of hours every day–just that you will show up at the page regularly and do the work.

The Process

Saying “yes” to the writing process means you will accept the fact that writing gets messy. It’s not a process that goes from A to B to C like a dot-to-dot picture. The process is often murky as bits of ideas appear and then you shift them around. The shifting and changing is constant as you revise and (hopefully) as you continue to learn.

You can rarely see the end clearly from the beginning-even if you’re an outliner like I am. Plots can veer off into parts unknown. Characters want to behave in unexpected ways. The theme you start with doesn’t match the theme you end up writing about-what the story was really about, but you didn’t know it in the beginning.

Accept that the process will be gradual and full of failures or setbacks that will teach you about storytelling. You don’t have to do it all now–and you never have to do it perfectly.

The Dream

Last, you must say “yes” to the dream. Are you willing to take some risks? Are you willing to shift things around in your life so that the creation of your novel or play is possible? Can you let go of some of your volunteer work or hobbies or even paid writing in order to pursue your dream? Yes, it’s a gamble. Most things in life worth having are.

Are you willing to aim really high–without guarantees that it will all pay off in the end? Are you willing to grow and learn and be stretched? To do so, you must say “yes” to the dream.

Commitment Time

The work. The process. The dream.

Think about each separate part of the writing commitment. And when you’re ready, say a whole-hearted, no holds barred, no looking back, unequivocal YES!

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2 Responses to The Commitment to Write: Say YES!

  1. Alice says:

    Ah, that nasty, messy process! I think that’s where I get bogged down in my own writing. I can’t write from outlines, since my novels never follow any path I can clearly see from the beginning. They only come to me as I’m writing them. And first drafts are so much easier than revisions. It’s easier to just start something new than it is to make all those corrections to an existing manuscript. But if I want to be a serious writer, I have to say YES to that process.

    • kwpadmin says:

      It’s funny how different we all are. I hate rough drafts UNLESS I have a really solid outline and know where I’m going. I feel lost otherwise, and it increases the writing anxiety. And yet at least half the writers I talk to are like you, and they don’t write from an outline at all. There’s room for us all!

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