Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Every Day

I seldom write every day.  I have too many other things I'm interested, not counting family and friends.  I do write five days per week, and, when deadlines press, six days per week.  This said, I can write seven days per week, and have for extended periods.  Because I don't write seven days per week, I seldom comment when I hear other writers say they can't write every day.  Sometimes they have reason, be it bad health, or a sixty hour per week job, along with a family that needs time, though I know writers who live under these circumstances and still write every day.

Here's the problem.  Over the last few months, I've encountered more than a dozen writers who say the can't write every day because it's too hard. Or because they can't be creative that often.  Or because it makes writing seem too much like work.  They all have plenty of spare time each day, but they just can't write that often.  (Work seems to be the worst four letter word in the world now.  the F-bomb is no longer even a firecracker, but "work" is a horrible work.)

Well, fine.  As I said, I write only five days per week.  Inquiry, however, showed these writers don't write five days per week.  Or even three days per week, on anything like a regular basis.  They. Just. Can't. Do. It.

I've decided I no longer want to hear it.  If you happen to be one of these writers, yes, you can write seven days per week.  Or five, as I do.  But you can write seven days per week, and so can I.  The difference is I don't pretend I can't.  I don't care if it makes writing seem like work.  When you decided to be a writer, decided you wanted to sell what you write, writing became work.  That's just how it is.  Work is not a dirty word.  Work is a blessed word, the way we live, the way we prosper, the way we build, the way we survive.

Writing should be fun.  This does not mean it isn't work.  This does not mean there won't be times when it takes everything you have in you to sit down and be creative when you're sick, or dead tired, or depressed.  It does mean that the day it also stops being fun, you're thinking about all the wrong things when you're sitting there writing.  It means you're think about rejections, or the odds of ever selling anything, or any one of a hundred other things.  It means you are not thinking about the one thing that matters, which is simply telling a story.  When telling a story stops being fun, uninstall your word processor and find another way of filling your time.

And when work becomes something you don't want to do, don't enjoy, just give up on everything.  You're either lazy or pampered.  Work does not mean bad, and hard does not mean bad.  If you only want to write as a hobby, by all means, laze away.  When, however, you decide you want to be a writer, want to sell what you write, stop whining.  At least to me.  You've got it easy.  Half the world would kill to have it half as easy.  Most of the other half would at least maim, if not kill.

If you don't want to write every day, then don't.  If you don't want to write at all, then quit.  No one will miss you or your writing.  Either way, stop trying to tell me about it.  I'm not going to help you justify your laziness, your pampered life, your disappointment, or anything else.  If this were an easy business, anyone could do it.  How much fun would that be?  It isn't easy, it work, it's hard, it's frustrating, it's disappointing, just like everything else that's a business.  And selling your writing is ALWAYS a business.  So get over it.  Sit down and write, or do not expect me to nod my head and agree with your sad, sad story.  I'm not going to do it.


James A. Ritchie

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Finally Back

Well, it's been a long, long time since I made a post here, but there have been reasons.  First, we lost Comcast for more than two months.  Three, if you count a month of totally unusable service.  We thought about switching providers during this period, but found no alternatives where we live, which is boondocks central.

On top of this, we lost both computers within a week.  Lost completely.  Both blew motherboards and hard drives.  Neither was worth repairing.  I don't know what the odds of this are, but it happened.  We had plenty of time to make a decision about new computers because my work load right now has been all offline, and off computer.  Most know I write the large majority of first drafts longhand, and that's what I've spent the last few months doing.  Everything I wanted to do online, mostly making forum posts and doing research, was easy enough to do with a cell phone.  Trying to post here with a cell phone did not work at all, so I gave up after two attempts.

Money has been the real problem.  It's been scarce since my heart attacks.  Even with good insurance, we still went through our savings.  All of it.  So the choice has been buy cheap, or go in hock for something expensive.  About three weeks ago, we reached the point, or I did, where we had to make a decision.  I had reams of work built up in longhand, and deadlines looming.  You can't rebuild savings by going n hock, so we decided to buy cheap now, and save for expensive computers later.  We started shopping around, decided on a pair of Asus laptops, and paid cash.  I'm just now running them through the tests, but so far, so good.  They have a one year warranty, and should keep us going until we can afford to pay cash for bigger, better computers.

I've already learned I hate Windows 8.1, but other than this, I'm impressed with these computers so far.  And I'll probably update them to Windows 10 when the release is made public. 

I really shouldn't be very hard to impress.  My first computer used those huge floppy disks, and stored only about fifty pages of writing.  My first "modern" work computer, top of the line at the time,  had a four gig hard drive,  and the OS required two gigs of hard drive space.  But even with only two gigs to play with, I never filled it.  Yet it cost something over $1,200, which was a lot of money back then.  These Asus computers cost $249 each, have four gigs of ram, a five hundred gig hard drive, and a fifteen and a half inch screen.   A massively more powerful computer for twenty percent of the cost.  That's progress.

My wife needs a bigger, faster computer for some of her later in life activities, but who knows, if it doesn't break easily, this cheap Asus may prove to be all I need for writing?   I've always bought top of the line, but maybe that's no longer necessary?  We'll see. 

I'm certainly going to put it through the test over the next month or so.  I really do have a massive stack of longhand that needs transcribed, and I start on it tomorrow morning. 

Anyway, we now have Comcast back, and they even paid us for the months without service.  I have a computer, and all, so far, is well with the world.


James A. Ritchie