“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
– Ray Bradbury
Damn, Mr. Bradbury. 20,000 days? That’s only 54 years. I need far more time. I’ll just be getting started!
You want to write a novel too? You haven’t started yet?
You have some great ideas though?
You read that one book by that one author you liked and you totally think you can do the same thing? The main characters, like totally reminded you of you and your best friend? You could totally write a story like that! It’s like, so much like your own life!
That’s wonderful. I’m sure you’ll get around to writing a novel just like that someday. I know you have some fantastic ideas.
You just don’t know where to find the time. You have school of course, and that takes up so many hours.
And what about you? You work endless shifts at your job, always putting in overtime. I understand. Maybe you can start writing after that.
Then there’s you, of course. You have children to raise, obviously. You have to get them breakfast, and go shopping, and dress them, and make them lunch, and take them to their practice in the afternoons. Where can you find time? Maybe you can start writing after they go to bed.
Writing doesn’t seem that hard. You wrote fabulous essays in school.
There’s that amazing new show on television! Did you watch it last week? Oh, my god, it’s so good! Maybe you can start writing after you catch the latest episode.
And how about that cool game app on your smartphone everyone is playing this month? Did you collect all the stupid candy or birds or jewels or coins or whatever the fuck you are commanded to do? Maybe you can start writing after you play that for a little while.
Writing is really easy, after all. Look at all the terrible books that get published.
You could start writing that novel this Friday night, but your friends called and they want to go out drinking. You can’t turn them down. Have to get your drink on! Woohoo! Party! You’re only young once! Besides, a writer needs life experiences, right? So you have to go be sociable with your friends. Live a little! Maybe you can start writing after you get home. If you’re not too wasted. LOL
Oh, and that new movie is opening this weekend! Did you catch the trailer? The one with your favorite actor in it! He’s so cool. All his movies are always so awesome. You have to check that out on Saturday. Maybe you can start writing when you get home.
Writing a novel shouldn’t be that tough for you. Your friends always say you’re so creative.
You really do love to read. Writers who are worth anything always read a lot. Right? The newest book in the latest young adult sorcery vampire dystopian series with that strong female lead character is out! Have to read that tonight before you go to bed. Too bad. You could have started writing your novel then. Maybe you can start after you’ve read a few chapters of The Harry Twilight Games.
Did you start messing around on the Internet again? How long did you spend on your social networking site today? Did you see those new posts from your friends’ vacation? That’s really important to spend time doing that. Did you make sure to click likes on those political rants? Your friends are just so tuned in to the social consciousness! Well, maybe you can start writing once you sign off the computer.
Writing a novel can’t take too long anyway. Right? You’ve heard some people write them in a month. Isn’t there that challenge every November where people churn out 50,000 word novellas they pretend are novels?
Well, once you hop off the Internet, maybe you’ll check out that videogame upgrade. You can start writing right after that.
Did you see what was on the news today? Can you believe what those crazy people in the Middle East and Asia are doing? How about the way that girl was dressed at the MTV Awards? Hey, that gives you some story ideas! Maybe you can start writing them down when the news is over.
That weekend trip you have planned next month with your boyfriend or girlfriend sure will be dreamy. You can’t wait. Maybe you can start writing when you get to that cute little bed and breakfast.
Anybody can write. You know you have the talent. You have such great ideas. You just can’t possibly find the time.
But you sure hope to get started soon.
The reason you will never be a writer is because you think you have all the time in the world.
For those of us who are writers…
54 years contain barely enough hours to begin.
“I’ve always been aware of posterity. Many, many, many, many years ago, I got a t-shirt when I was single that said, ‘Not tonight, dear – I’m on a deadline.’ And you stop to think about how many movies you didn’t go to, or how many times you didn’t get laid, or how many times you had to punk out on going out to a good dinner with somebody, or you missed seeing a concert you wanted to, because you were busy writing and you had to finish the story. As Von Kleist said, ‘I write only because I cannot stop.’ I keep writing because I cannot stop.”
– Harlan Ellison