Unorthodox Writing Tips 15: Know When to Say When
When I was in the Navy I hung out with a bunch of guys and we all liked to drink. Not just your casual drinking, mind you. Heavy drinking. Drinking to excess. Drinking until a fight broke out, someone passed out (usually me) or the police showed up to stop the party before the sun came up. There were many times I’d wake up back in my barracks with someone else laughing about my antics the night before.
There was this time with flaming shots where I light my face on fire, but that’s a story for another day.
Suffice to say I didn’t know when to stop. I’ve matured over the years, as a person is wont to do, and I’ve learned my limit. I normally stop at two or I don’t drink at all if I’m driving.
When I first discovered podcasting I dove in with both feet. I subscribed to all 100 podcasts and listened to every back episode I could get my hands on (in most cases this was 10 or 11). Yes, I was lucky enough to discover podcasts early on and I’ve seen it evolve and I drank deeply from that cup as well.
I got burned out and eventually I stopped listening all together several times but would still go back and get caught up from time to time. Now I have a set few that I listen to each and every week and I’ve pretty much cut out everything else. I’m still subscribed and have over 50 Gigs of podcasts I haven’t listened to, but some day I’ll clear those out and just keep what I feel I need.
Which podcasts do I listen to? I’m not going to name names here, but someday I’ll put up my play list. Most of what I listen to are writing podcasts and I don’t even listen to them for the writing advice, but for the conversation.
What does any of this have to do with your writing?
Easy. Learn to know when you’ve had enough.
I could talk to you all day about writing and even longer if you’d let me. I’d burn your ear off with standard advice, editing tips, dialogue dos and don’t, talking about other authors I’ve talked with about writing and story ideas until I turn blue in the face. But what does that get you?
In the end, nothing. It also doesn’t get me anything either. Talking about doing something is fun. It’s easy. It’s great to be social. It’s great to get out there and talk with people who have done what you really want to do. You know what’s hard? WRITING!
Writing is not easy. It requires a lot of hours of sitting by yourself and typing. If all you ever do is listen to other people talk about what they’ve done and this gives you a sense of accomplishment, great. There’s no better feeling than feeling like you’ve accomplished something and living vicariously through someone else can help you achieve that.
Want to know a secret? Getting to ‘The End’ yourself is a high you’ll never forget. Do you want to know something else? Knowing that someone is listening to you talk about writing is having the same sense of accomplishment is an even higher high. But the best high of all when it comes to writing; having someone you don’t know, have never had any contact with, and could have just as easily ignored you and your work send you an email, a tweet, a facebook post to say they read what you wrote, loved it, and wants more. I’m here to tell you there is nothing like that.
So I’m going to end here. What I want you to do is to decided when you’ve had enough input and start generating output. Put down those books on writing. Put down that newsletter. Stop that podcast and sit down at your keyboard wherever it makes you comfortable and start typing. When you reach ‘The End’ come and tell me how you feel. Don’t do things that are easy to get your sense of satisfaction, do the things that are hard and that sense of satisfaction will be tenfold.
Until Next Time!