21 reasons not to write, but an unsharpened pencil isn’t one

I’m ALWAYS planning to blog . At any given time I might have three or four blogposts in mind. If I DON’T, THEN I worry.

Jaquandor, that budding novelist from the Buffalo area, responded to some meme, presumably as it applied to book or short story or poetry writing. Much of it, though, also applies to blogging, IMHO. And you KNOW my opinion is humble.

1. You are letting people tell you that you should be doing other things with your time.

When I first started blogging, people said, “How do you have TIME for that?” A lot. And I used to try to reply, “How do you have time for…” whatever they did, as though that were useful. Now that I’ve blogged for a while, it’s MUCH less common. They realize, “It’s just what Roger does.”

2. You can’t live with the level of cleanliness that your family accepts as normal. You should see the chaos in the office. Better still, please don’t.

3. You haven’t decided to treat your writing seriously and so no one around you treats it seriously, either.

Serious as in, “I need to do this, I’m compelled to do this” I got to fairly early on.

4. You haven’t made yourself a writing space.

There is no writing space. Work at lunchtime, the library, the dining room table with the daughter’s laptop, the office. If I’m away, some public computer; doesn’t matter.

5. You haven’t realized that you need help.

Lots of people think I need help…

6. You do what is urgent rather than what is necessary.

I try to balance; don’t always succeed.

7. You don’t let your kids and other people solve their own problems.

Well, my daughter is nine, and if she needs help finding her homework, I’ll still help her, even if it cuts into writing time.

8. You think that someday you will have more time for writing.

I now know, barring retirement, that AIN’T gonna happen.

9. You are spending time doing things you actually don’t care about.

Don’t we all, to some degree? Mine is lawn work. If we had a goat, I wouldn’t do it at all.

10. You are actually using distractions as an excuse not to write.

Nah, the distractions are real. Usually, the Daughter being sick or needing something.

11. You are terrified of writing, of actually sitting down and putting yourself on the page.

Not an issue. Actually, he said immodestly, if there’s one thing about Roger’s blog, it is that his voice is, for better and worse, on the page.

12. You are too busy criticizing the best-selling books that you are reading to write something better.

I hardly read best-selling books; no problem.

13. You don’t know what to do with a blank page.

Well, that’s true, but reading and following newsfeeds, that’s seldom an issue for long.

14. You don’t know how to turn off your internal editor.

Definitely correct. But I write anyway.

15. You talk a good game, but you don’t play it.

Actually, no.

16. You need to do a little planning and research before you start.

I’m ALWAYS planning. At any given time I might have three or four blog posts in mind. If I DON’T, THEN I worry.

17. You don’t actually like writing. You like having written. (Join the club.)

Oddly enough, no. I find that in the act of writing, it always changes, which I find to be quite informative. It hones my thought process. I mean, it’s not that I LIKE to write, but rather I NEED to.

18. You need to write the first line of the next chapter before leaving for the day.

That is true, and I usually do.

19. You need to spend time remembering what it is you love about writing.

20. You have convinced yourself that you need 2 hours to write and don’t know how to use the 20-minute chunks you actually have.

I don’t need two hours. But I really like 30 minutes. Otherwise, I end up doing memes like this!

21. You don’t have notebooks scattered through the house, including in the bathroom, to jot down inspiration.

Actually, my process involves lots of e-mail, to myself. I think of something, or I see something on TV or read something in an e-mail, I send it to myself, and mark it, USE IT! Sometimes I actually do.
The title came in part from me doing some math problem Arthur posted on Facebook (my age X 7 X 1443) with the product repeating my age thrice (606060).

Roger: Did the math with a pencil. FWIW.
Jason: Pencil? What’s a pencil?
Arthur: It’s similar to a stylus for a tablet or smartphone. Only without electricity.
Roger: It’s this graphite stick encased in wood.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

10 thoughts on “21 reasons not to write, but an unsharpened pencil isn’t one”

  1. Mine’s not on the list: “I don’t write because I have difficulty believing anybody is actually interested in what I have to say.” 🙂

  2. Number 1 definitely hits home. People are always telling me to give up on writing or saying things like, “Your blog’s just okay, not good. You should do something else,” or, “Maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.” For some reason, others take it upon themselves to try and dictate what we do instead of writing…

    Anyway, great post, Roger.

  3. That’s the beauty of writing. The people I encounter on a daily basis rarely want to hear what I have to say about anything. But once I write it down it becomes important and notable. (See Biloxi blues by Neil Simon.) And the beauty of the internet is that you don’t have to convince anyone that your writing is important enough to disseminate. All you have to do is write what you honestly think, make it readable, and sure enough you’ll find an audience out there. But I still wonder how Roger finds the time to do all that high quality breakfast blogging.

  4. Last night, I woke up at 2 a.m., couldn’t sleep, wrote a blogpost, slept until 8:15. That’s one way I can write.

  5. One of the better writing spaces, I’ve discovered, is while being stuck in traffic. (It’s not like I’m doing anything else for the next 35 seconds to four minutes.)

  6. MDS – Good stuff.
    Steve – one of the items on MDS’s list was from Anne Enright: “Only bad writers think that their work is really good.” So don’t bother listening to THEM.
    Chaz- I compose a lot in the shower. Not writing down composing – don’t have waterproof paper – but thinking composing. Which keeps me relatively clean as well.

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