Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Write Now

By Amy

Time is not on our side. Each passing day takes with it an opportunity. The chance to be or become or strive for a life that currently exists only within our imaginations; that chance to become our true selves slips away by degrees with each sunset.

Though not a religious or spiritual person, I find enormous comfort in the Five Remembrances of Buddha, especially "I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death." Why? Does it seem morose? Well, I am a morose person I suppose, but it inspires an urgency to accomplish.

I know of several people who've been working on their novels for years, some as long as a decade. While a few of these people have had enormous success, others modest, still others will never see their labors of love published. We all know this is a fickle business, wonderful manuscripts are declined by agents and editors everyday. Some go on to make it, most do not. The fact is, you don't have the luxury of time.

I was speaking with a friend recently and she told me of her pressing deadlines imposed by her publishing house. I began hyperventilating on her behalf while she appeared completely serene. She'd worked hard at her craft for years and wasn't about to let time prevent the culmination of her dream from being realized. Therese Fowler understands this. She wrote Souvenir in 7 months, and now it's slated to be Ballantine's lead title for February 2008. Focus, choose, act.

So what will it be? Will you spend today catering to the needs of everyone else around you? Surfing various blogs and online gossip columns, instead of your manuscript? Will you allow the drudgery of work and home, the pressure of debt enslave your precious hours? Or will you decide that today everything else must step aside in favor of your writing. I know what it is to be caught in that fugue, truly I do. But don't allow it to overcome you, to lull you into believing you have time.

You don't.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Amy. Boy, did I need to see this.
M

Melissa Marsh said...

In the past few months, time has been a precious thing - and I've taken advantage of it whenever I can, even to the point of writing at work when things are slow. ;-)

Lisa said...

We all need this tough love, so thank you Amy. I'm with Melissa and have managed to squeeze writing in sometimes during the day when I "should" be working, but my energy is so much better than it is at night.

The Writers' Group said...

M, thank you, I needed it, too.

Melissa, I was thinking of everything you've been through while I wrote this. If you could do it, anyone can.

Lisa,I've no doubt you're driven enough to accomplish your dream. None.

gail said...

Great post, Amy. You're always so wise. Now I have to get off the blogs and back to my book!

Larramie said...

I can tell fall is coming. No, the color of the leaves aren't changing yet, rather the writers' voices -- out here -- are filled with urgency and a sense of "let's get on with it."

Vacation time, over and out.

The Writers' Group said...

Gail, yes, get back to it now. I can't wait to read your book. None of us can especially after your post this week at the Debs.

Larramie, you're so right, I do prefer to be done with this present.

Trish Ryan said...

Such good points for writers to remember (although I'll confess that the Buddhist perspective usually leaves me so filled with hopelessness that I can't get off the couch...)

Thanks for putting this in more user-friendly format for those of us who need a healthy dose of "You can do it--follow your dreams!" at then end of every pep talk :)

Kristy said...

Well, hell, I was serene until I read THIS! Now I'm freakin' out. Gotta go write!!!

Timely (heh heh) post, Amy.

The Writers' Group said...

Trish, how's the book coming? When are we going to see you at Grub Street?

Kristy, please get to work. I'm dying (no pun intended) to know how it ends.

John Elder Robison said...

You said:

So what will it be? Will you spend today catering to the needs of everyone else around you? Surfing various blogs and online gossip columns, instead of your manuscript? Will you allow the drudgery of work and home, the pressure of debt enslave your precious hours? Or will you decide that today everything else must step aside in favor of your writing.




I like to think it's possible to do both. One needn't give up the rest of life in pursuit of writing.

I wrote Look Me in the Eye during breaks in the action, sitting at my desk at Robison Service. Talking to customers, walking through the shop, and picking away at the book.

Then, I worked on it at home, and in total, I did it in less than a year, all the while doing all those other things you mention.

So I agree, get to work, but have a life, too.

reality said...

Thank You Amy for this motivator. Unfortunately life cannot be brushed aside so easily.

And yet blogs and surfing can and should when they come in the way of your writing.
But then where would we find such wonderful nuggets of advice; in our already solitary pursuit of writing.

The Writers' Group said...

John, yes, we need a life outside of writing, how else to inform it? The point I was trying to make is that it must be a priority. My children have and always will come before everything and everyone. My writing is a close second. I think for women the demands on our time are more varied and the expectation that we will sacrifice our time is more prevalent. It just is.

Reality, I agree. I'm going through a period where everyone else's needs take precedence. It's a challenge to carve out time, but I must. Writing helps me through.

Amy