Monday’s Writerly Quote

Today’s quote I stumbled upon thanks to Phil’s post, linking to a bunch of William Faulkner quotes.

I’ve heard people say, “Well, if I were not married and had children, I would be a writer.” I’ve heard people say, “If I could just stop doing this, I would be a writer.” I don’t believe that. I think if you’re going to write you’re going to write, and nothing will stop you.

Some of you may find this a little discouraging, but here’s the thing. If you’re blogging, you’re already writing. And if you’re writing a story on top of that, gold stars all around.

You’re a writer as soon as you make up your mind to be. We do those things which are most important to us and make time for those things. In fact, look at what you spend your day on. Whether you like it or not, those are the things you find the most important.

My philosophy is all things in good measure. If you’re writing too much and not spending enough time filling your creative cup by reading, enjoying life and other activities, sooner or later you will hit a dry spot. There are some periods of my life where it just seems like I can’t get enough writing time in (well, in addition to blogging). I think it might be my subconscious saying time to revitalize.

What’s my point in that? You don’t have to spend every free moment of your life writing to be a writer. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to read some books—in fact, you should always make time for reading. You know yourself better than anyone. You know when it’s true procrastination and when it’s more likely break time.

But like I said, if you’re blogging, you’re already writing. If you haven’t, take time to celebrate in that success, even if you think it’s minor.

And then, for those working on other projects, do what you need to do to get it done. Set goals, participate in Row80, or find your own way to motivate yourself.

candy cane pen

The ink smells like peppermint. How’s that for motivation?

Make up your mind to be a writer, then write.

Do you agree with the quote? What gets in the way of your writing? How do you keep everything balanced? Any tips for others who need help staying motivated? Let us know below!

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17 thoughts on “Monday’s Writerly Quote

  1. I completely agree with it. It’s hard to make time and throw yourself into writing, but if you’re a writer, that’s what you have to do.

    And I’m not as militant about writing every day as I used to be, but I try to certainly on most days.

    • I like that you used the term militant. There were certainly times I felt more like that, getting at least 2 hours in daily, but now it more ebbs and flows. Thanks for commenting!

      • Speaking of militant, I read the other day that Hemingway suggested not pushing to the max each day, either.

        That you should stop while you’re going strong, and since you know the rest fo the scene, you’re more likely to begin the next day and never let fear or writer’s block stop you. I had never heard that, but I see the wisdom in it. And also of not completely exhausting yourself.

        • I recently came across that quote too and I agree with it and you. Except, it might be hard to stop when you’re going strong, because I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well, but when you’re really in the groove of writing you want to keep going. I can understand, though, how that would help you the next day. Hmmmm… good food for thought.

  2. I disagree with the quote to a point because I think having a family makes you reset your priorities. My biggest distraction is my family because there’s a belief that I can be taken away from my writing or do it while holding conversations. The only tip I can give is to try to drill into family that there are times where you need to write and their support should come from giving you that time. I should mention that I’m writing this while my dad continues a conversation we’ve been having for the last 1.5 hours. I think it’s about pineapples and bungee cords.

    • Hmm… But aren’t you still a writer despite having family obligations? My impression was that Faulkner’s saying people believe if they didn’t have a family they could be a writer. You’ve easily proven them wrong with 4 books. I think you’re a good example of what this quote means, don’t you think?

      • Yes, but it involved a lot of yelling and screaming from me. The 3-year-old gets a pass because he’s adorable and his addictive laughter. I won’t deny that I had to really battle my family to get the time and space for this. I have had days where I wonder if I’d get further at an earlier age if I was alone, but there is a downside to that, which I think some young authors don’t take into account. I take influence from most of the people around me, so if I was alone, I wouldn’t have the books that I have now. It’s a bizarre ‘chicken/egg’ thing.
        It’s really only been the last 4 months that I gained most of my family’s blessing. So, I might be a good example, but I got here through a lot of nasty fights and slammed doors. I guess my overall point is that Faulkner is wrong, but authors should be prepared to fight for the support depending on their family.

        • I think it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to ask for a couple uninterrupted hours of the day. But I imagine it would take quite a bit of balancing. I’m sure it’s been difficult, but I’m glad it sounds like they’ve become more understanding now.

  3. Great post and certainly a thought-provoking quote. I only wish it weren’t William Faulkner, whose litigious estate is trying to narrow our legal understanding of “fair use” by demanding a royalty for even short paraphrases. The two lawsuits are against corporations, but if fair use is narrowed in such a way, it would open the doors to other folks who want to claim copyright infringement against anyone, including bloggers. I’ve quoted Faulkner in the past, and maybe I will again in the future, but I prefer to ignore Faulkner entirely except to write about the lawsuits (as I said in my Nov 13, 2012 post on it, “[The estate’s] litigious nature could chill future references to the author, thus ending the free advertising and possibly hastening the speed with which the public will lose interest in his work.”).

    • Ugh. I think I’d forgotten about that post. How ridiculous! It’s ironic how those things come back to bite them in the butt though. I believe it was the Empire State building who wanted a certain amount of money if it was ever featured in a NY skyline shot. Instead people shot the Chrysler building. I think now that’s more a NY symbol to me than the Empire State. I think in trying to grasp rights too tightly you only end up alienating your product from the public.

  4. Agreed- speaking for myself, at least. I think a writer is someone who can’t not write (pardon the double negative, but I think that’s really the best way to say it). It’s like an addiction for me sometimes. Obviously my family is a priority, but they know that I need my time to write, too. Even if I have to do it while there are kids banging out guitar and/or drum solos in the basement, I have to get some work done every day, or I just feel lost.

    Applies to other areas of life, too- housework bores me to tears and isn’t important to me (beyond health and safety concerns, tidying, etc), and I just can’t seem to find time for all of the “above and beyond” Martha Stewart-type stuff. 🙂

    • Yep. Housework only gets done because messiness kills my creative vibes after a certain point. Obviously I’d much rather be writing. Although sometimes housework provides opportune times to think about scenes, so I guess it all depends.

      I’m glad I’m not the only writing addict. 😀

  5. Love it. I often have to make myself stop reading blogs so I can write.
    I am a word count hound, so I set word goals for each day or week.
    I have many active stories going right now, and I try to make myself go to the smallest and write on it until it jumps the one above it.

    What’s Row80?

    Anyway, I love setting goals and then chasing them, it’s satisfying t catch one, but it’s more fun to chase.

    Thanks for posting what is on all writers minds!

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