Having coffee this morning? Yum!
Now, try to pick up the cup. Go on… Are you touching the cup? No, no, no–that’s not allowed. You’re only allowed to try to pick it up.
Is your hand hanging uncertainly in the air?
This is not a trick. Okay, maybe it’s a little tricky, but it demonstrates something very important. Trying doesn’t get things done. It isn’t a thing. There is only doing. *insert Yoda here*
I think I read the phrase “I’m trying to write a (insert genre) novel” online five or six times a week. Although I empathize with struggling, beginning, and frustrated writers–as I’ve been them all–I want to gently shake these “trying” authors by the shoulders of their faded university sweatshirts and tell them to stop trying and just keep writing.
Either you’re writing a novel, or you’re not writing a novel. We can prepare ourselves to write. We can take a break from writing, or we can quit writing, or we can continue writing until we’re finished, and start the next one.
If you’re bogged down, or stuck, admit it. Don’t hide it. Ask for help, then quickly get back to your keyboard. Don’t worry: if you’re thinking constructively about your work, you’re still writing. But don’t think too long. Take an afternoon, or a day. Don’t lose your momentum, even if it’s the momentum of the hundred words you wrote during the fifteen minutes before breakfast yesterday.
If you’re writing, you’re a writer.
Help other writers.
Don’t bother trying. Make the choice to do, and not give up.
Are there things you find yourself “trying” to do, instead of doing them?
(for me it’s “trying” to lose weight)
I love this post.
Years ago, long before Yoda uttered those immortal words, when told by a subordinate that he was “trying” (he thought he’d been called in to be fired) I asked him to relax and have a seat in a chair. After he was seated, I said, “Now, try to get up.”
Of course, he stood.
I said, “See? There is no try. There is only do or do not. Now go do your job, and don’t sweat the small stuff.”
He grinned, said thanks, and left.
Great advice for writers. Writing is not trying. Writing is new words on the page.
And sometimes writing is taking words off the page. Do not fear the Unduki.
Terry, I *tried* not to snort coffee on the keyboard when I read “Unduki.” Failed!
Here I was, searching for definitions, thinking this was some new, Marie Kondo inspired editing style that I’d never heard of…. uh, nope. Ha!
I often practice the the mystical art of ‘Unduki’ ?
Love this story…what a perfect example! Thanks for sharing.
In my WIP, I wrote myself into a corner and bloated up the middle. (And I outlined, too. How did this happen?!) I’m trying to fix it. Thanks for the encouragement. I will fix it.
My pleasure! Happy writing!
Did that guy sally forth and become great? Because it is good advice–advice I confess I originally got from my favorite therapist!
If you’re talking about the guy who thought he was going to be fired, yes, he did. Not long afterward, he was promoted on merit.
Great wisdom, Laura. I’m going to send this post some trying writers I know.
I am trying to write. There I have admitted it. Over the last year, I have been taking courses with critiques, reading craft books and blogs. Trying to improve, but I need to stop ‘trying’ and write/edit the book. A timely reminder, Laura, thank you.
Admitting it is the first step.Go! You’ll never be more ready!
Great…now I have “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood ping-ponging around in my brain all day. 🙂
Ha! Those timeless lyrics lol…
#wordfortoday ?? I’ve been “stuck” for weeks stuffing more research into my overinflated research file till last night. (There’s only so much you can squeeze into stretchy pants before the seams give out as we all know.)
It was time to put up or shut up as my mother-in-law would say.
I have to admit the first paragraph wasn’t amazing or good or even interesting but it was enough to roll the car down the hill, pop the clutch and turn the engine over.
Really encouraging this morning! I’ll never look at my coffee the same again ?
Keep it going, Cindy! And don’t be too hard on yourself and your efforts.
Very nicely said. And short, too!
Off to the QWERTY…
Thanks! Happy writing!
Guilty as charged. Though when I say I’m trying to write my first novel, it’s kinda like me saying I’m trying to get those six-pack abs: I’m putting in the work; I just don’t know if what comes out of it will be the desired result.
If you’re putting in the work, i. e. writing the words, you are doing the only thing that will get it done.
Maybe use the phrase “working on” when it comes to those abs. Sounds legit to me!
The worst is when the “trying” writers include your Twitter handle along with thirty other trying writers, all whining to each other. *facepalm*
I’m trying to wait patiently for spring, but alas, it’s not going well. 😉
Ouch! What a drag, Sue. If only Twitter had FB’s untag feature. ?
You’re a good egg—always positive and supportive. Don’t let the Negative Nellies and Normans get you down!
Btw, I got ahold of The Stranger Inside over the weekend, and I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Congrats on a great book. Have you sold the movie rights yet? Anyone who reads the book will understand the wisdom installing security cameras on their homes that can be monitored remotely! Thanks for a great read.
Thank you, Joanne! What a lovely thing to hear. That you read it in one sitting is a huge compliment.
Film rights are not yet sold, darn it. Fingers crossed! ?
what a great post, thank you. And yes, I agree. “Working on” is much better than “trying”.
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