The Writer's Life

If You’re a Writer, WRITE!

In teaching high school English/language arts courses, I assigned and graded a library of research papers. Invariably, at least one student in the class would turn in a great outline for a great idea. They took massive notes in the library and turned in their research cards on time. After that, however, when it came time to turn in the paper, they had nothing. They had done all the pre-writing work, but none of the writing work.

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.

-E. L. Doctorow

Yes, writing takes planning. Yes, writing takes some form of outlining, whether it is formal or very informal. And yes, many times writing takes researching.

I get it. AND, I do all of it.

But none of that is writing.

Writing is actually sitting down in front of the blank page or blank screen and filling it with words. That is writing. In order to say you are a writer, at some point you must actually write.

Your challenge? Set a specific number of words you will write each and every day this week AND then write those words. If you write more than that number of words, great. If you are struggling, push through and enter the word “word” until something better comes out. Sooner or later your brain connects the ridiculousness of writing “word” and comes up with something better.

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