Don't Listen to ME

Scene: A combination of several recent conversations.


Jane, a mish-mash of no less than four people.

Me, an author.

Open scene.

Jane: I want to write a book.

Me: You should.

Jane: But I can't.

Me: Why?

Jane: Well ... I don't have a plot, everything's been done before, I don't have time, I don't know how, I don't know anything about publishing, people will make fun of me, I'm not really a writer, my dog needs walking, I'm afraid, my hair needs washing, I have double-jointed thumbs, there's a threat of garden gnome invasion, the zombie apocalypse looms on the horizon, I'm secretly a unicorn hunter and it takes up lots of time ...

[at this point Me starts daydreaming about RPattz, because Jane's already made up her mind and nothing Me says will make a difference]

... self-employment taxes, not to mention the diseases.

Me: ... Hmm ... sparkles ...

End scene.

Two years ago, I could have given any single one of "Jane's" reasons as an excuse not to write. At some point, I probably gave them all. (Except for the obviously fake ones. My hubs walks the dog, and people make fun of me so often it's like a national pastime.)


I can tell you until I'm blue in the face, but I'm a person you know. Maybe you have a hard time hearing it from me. So.

Listen to Meg Cabot:

"... sitting down and actually doing it."

And Maureen Johnson:

"Dare to suck ... when you are learning things, you suck at them."

When you want encouragement, solid advice, cheerleading and cupcakes - real or virtual - I'll be waiting right here.

Until then, pass me that New Moon Blu Ray, will ya?


  1. You totally made me smile, Myra. Thank you. And you're right--if you want to do something, you just have to do it. Everyone starts somewhere and most of the time your origin is Suckville. Only when you get on the writing train do you get to go somewhere else.


  2. I've always loved that video from Maureen. Giving myself permission to suck was a big part of finally being able to write a book.

    I actually tricked myself into starting to write seriously. My mom always wanted me to be a novelist, so one year I decided to write and POD a book for her for Christmas, so the whole time I was writing it, I was like "la la la, it's just a present, it's not a real book!" I pretended I had no ambition to have it published for real. I think that took a lot of the psychological pressure off for me. Once it was done, though, I was able to face the fact that I really DID want to write for real.

  3. Hi Myra. Great post. I would respond but this is my writing time so... I'm gonna go and write now.

  4. Oh my god. Janet Reid linked to this, and I stumbled onto this . . . and have now forwarded it to all of my friends.
    Sparkly and writing advice? And Meg Cabot! You are like, my official favorite new person.
    ...Wow, that sounded stalker like. Ahem. If it makes it better, I'm fifteen; I'm programmed for dreams of sparkly boys and reading author's blogs. :P Thanks for making my day, though.

  5. Damn it,
    Now I have to stop surfing and get back to writing.
    Thanks for the motivation.

  6. Thanks for this post. I really needed it.

  7. Perfect for my afternoon. Thank you!

  8. I appreciate you sharing this. I don't like suckage, but I'm happy to slog through it to find happiness and better-than-before-ness. Growth is awesome and I love love love applying growth to writing.

  9. Thank you! I needed that kick up the butt. Like Meg Cabot, I wrote my first (and only!) book when I was a child. I was 9, and it was basically a mystery story inspired by the Trixie Belden series. What I miss is how I just loved writing that story for the sake of writing it - no expectation of publication, no fears about whether it would 'suck.' Now I'm torn between the compulsion to write and the fear of failure. If I don't finish something, I'll never have to face that it might suck and that it may not be published and that I'll have wasted all that time. I just need to re-train myself to just write for the sheer joy of writing - after all, that's why we do it, right?

  10. I totally suck, and yet some how just not enough. I gotta suck more.

  11. This is great because most of the people reading this post (thanks to Janet Reid) are probably writers procrastinating writing--oh wait, just me?
    K, gotta get back to sucking.

  12. Thanks for this post. I follow you on twitter, but I didn't know about your blog. Got here through the Sharrks' (ahem! Janet Reied's) link.
    I've always known I want to write. I've known it all my life. I just made that decision to do it about three years ago. What took me so long!

  13. *laughs* Excellent post. Didn't know you called me Jane, tho'. Hmmm.

  14. Shhhh. You're not suppose to know this, Myra, but janet Reid recommended this blog. I'm glad she did. Thanks for the nudge.

  15. Lovely piece of advice! I worked 8-10 hours a day, studied in college(and passed all my exams),cooked,cleaned,tookthe dog out,had a boyfriend, had friends, had a social life, AND wrote a 500 pages book.
    The limits are always in our heads.

  16. Hey, thanks. It was funny, yet very true! Love it!

  17. P.S. Can I still have a cupcake?

  18. I watched the Meg Cabot video last week and it really hit home. Sit down and do it. I have so much in my head, I just need to sit down and do it!

  19. Meg Cabot's a cutie.
    My biggest obstacle is seriously making the time and doing it. Sit down and do it is excellent advice!

  20. This post is full of awesome. I needed this. :)

  21. This is me right now. I've got a storyline all mapped out, chapters plotted, characters analyzed, tension, etc etc. Pages and pages of plans and drawings of characters for notes.

    I can't seem to pull the trigger and start writing.

    I'm afraid the story might be at its best right now, in my head. I'm afraid I might suck.

    Good post. I might go forth and be unafraid!

  22. "Daring to suck" - that's perfect. And explains a lot about how I feel sometimes when I'm struggling to improve the darned craft.

  23. Found your blog via Janet Reid, so glad I did! Looking forward to more!

  24. "Made the choice to make a change..." So true, so necessary. I know I had to make the choice to stop dithering and stop destructive habits in favor of productive ones, fo realz. And it worked. I've never been so productive as I have these last months; what a great feeling.

  25. I am so in love with this post. It's the first time I've been here and this is so amazing. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am going to have to share this. You totally rock!


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