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ProAm Tips #26 - Shut the hell up.

I go to my coffee shop (no, it’s not StarSchmucks) for a dirty chai on ice. I walk in, I admire the place, I listen to the music I’ve likely never heard before. I leave a nice tip, because they do amazing dirty chai there (it’s black chai tea and a shot of espresso, btw. Good for what ails you, provided you don’t have a heart condition) and I leave.

Occasionally, as it is a coffee shop, I see people pecking away on their laptops. This is fine. Sometimes it can be quite the motivator to go into an unfamiliar surrounding to work. I find that when I take my laptop to the library or a study room on campus, I seem to really rock the word count myself. Nothing wrong with it, even if you DO have a Mac and a neck beard.

Once in a while I will see (and elsewhere as well… the school cafeteria, the library lounge, classrooms before classes start) groups of people sitting around and talking about writing. This in itself is not a bad thing. If you have questions, or you’re looking to workshop finished stuff, that’s cool. But… come on.

Don’t sit around and TALK about writing.

I mean the physical act of putting the words on the page. Be it with a pen, or with a keyboard, or chalk, or lamb’s blood, or whatever medium you favor, don’t sit around and bullshit about it.


You want to discuss the formatting for submission? Fine. You want to talk about dialogue tags? Well and good, he said approvingly. Hate adverbs? There’s a support group for that. Need to story-plan with some peeps, and come up with a way out of the corner you wrote yourself into? Workshop that shit, yo.

But if I hear you whining about how you’re not motivated to write, or you’re just burned out on writing, or worst of all you don’t have TIME to write?

I’m gonna beat you into unconsciousness with my empty dirty chai cup.

Shut the hell up about writing. The act of writing is sacred. As Harlan Ellison said, it’s a holy chore.

I get it. It’s hard to write every waking moment. Life gets in the way, or you get stuck, or the words don’t work, or the plot is thin, or your characters are weak, OR the whole 100k word pile of your manuscript is garbage. Those are legitimate complaints.

Complaining about the actual physical WORK?

You’re either in, or in the way. Pick one.

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