When I have/am . . . I will do . . .

19 Feb

Have you ever said to yourself: when I have/am, I will …………  (when this problem is solved, I’ll do that)

I’m sorry to say that probably – you won’t. How do I know this? Because I didn’t do it either.  Get those qualifications out of the room. They don’t belong there. What does belong is: dedication, determination, discipline, diligence. At a minimum, you start with these. If you don’t have them, find them or you’ll have a really hard time reaching your goal. I won’t say you never will, because I don’t know your level of persistence, but I’d say the chances are slim and null.

This is a fill-in-the-blanks sort of sentence. In my case it was:

Once I get a new a job (I’d been  downsized and couldn’t find another job in my chosen field), I’ll  write.


When I get the bills paid off, I’ll write.

Or, whatever . . .

I think there were a couple of other notions in there, too, but none of my qualifications worked.

What I found out was this: There is NO magic switch that you can flip to enable yourself to sit down and write. Or stand up and write, whichever is your preference.  I like to sit at the computer, so if I say sit, please know it can interchange with stand up or lie down or whatever is your preferred position. What matters is this: You have to – literally – put your fanny in the chair and work at it. Make no mistake – Writing is Work! Even when it’s really flowing from brain to fingers to monitor in front of you – it’s work! Your shoulders, your back and even your butt will confirm that once you decide to take a break.

I have had days of producing 5000 or so words and it was almost all usable. Other days, I’ve struggled to get 100 sensible words, and have worked harder on them, than I did with the bigger production.

But I had to learn that there is no magic bullet. If you make the kinds of excuses mentioned at the top of this post, chances are good you’ll still be making them ten years from now. You have to disconnect from that mental image and literally turn the page. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do it.

I’d known since I was a teenager that I wanted to be a writer. I’m not sure if I ever had the gumption to say ‘I will be a writer,’ or ‘I AM a writer.’ That’s probably where I put myself on the rocks to begin with. It took 40+ years and a bossy daughter for me to realize that. She sorted me out in almost no time. “Put your ass in that chair and write!” I apologize for the words, but they were her exact admonition to me. I did as she told me to (that once!) and have never looked back.

So, unless you are fortunate enough to have a bossy daughter like I did, you need to take this advice. Don’t put off your ambition – it could easily become derailed, and you don’t want that to happen. Trust me. It’s still early enough in the new year to make a fresh start. Put yourself in that chair and write something every day. You don’t have to produce chapters every day. A page a day will be a good start. After all, a page of typing is 4-500 words, generally speaking. If a novella is fifteen to twenty-five thousand words – you do the math. You should be able to finish a shorter novella in a month. Or even less. Once you know the joy of finishing something, you’ll be eager to experience it again. And there you are – on your way to writing your first book! You don’t have to start with a novella, of course. That was merely an example.  But you can do a lot with a novella – and frankly, I’ve read any number of books that would have been so much better had they been only a novella!

It might not be publishable, but that decision can be made later. The most important thing is to get yourself in the habit of writing.

So, what are you waiting for?

By the way, my alter ego Hetty St. James has just published another Regency novelette. This one is An Improbable Duke, and it may be purchased here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00II9XHYG

Not to belabor my point about doing something, I woke up on Friday January 31 with the basic plot of this novelette (11,500 words) in my head as the result of a dream. Granted I already knew the heroine, as she’s the major character in a Regency mystery series I hatched about 20 years ago. But this short story doesn’t figure in the series except that she had to have been married before the series begins, and here’s the tale of how that came about! To be sure, I was aided by the blizzards and frigid conditions that we experienced during the first weeks of February – they really discouraged me from going out, so I attached myself to the computer, and here it is.


Cheers, everyone!  And happy writing to you!


2 Responses to “When I have/am . . . I will do . . .”

  1. Susan February 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Good point Kelly!

  2. Trudy February 20, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    Another great post!

    Sent from Trudy’s iPad mini Author of The Emma Haines Kayak Mystery Series http://www.trudybrandenburg.com


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