Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Walk the Walk

By Glenn Walker

Everybody always says (whether they are a writer or not), "You know, I could write a book, if only I had the time." Those of us who are writers know these people, have heard them say this, and we hate them. Admit it, we do.

Writing is not just something one does, it is something one is. A writer cannot not write. Simple as that. But in every field, there are folks who walk the walk, and those who only talk the talk. We see them every day in our writing groups, meetings, and the like. There are the writers who are writing, and the writers who only talk about writing. There's a point where you have to stop talking, put your butt in the seat, fingers on the keyboard, and actually do the deed. Start walking the walk.

There are numerous ways to get that magical motivation needed to move from talker to walker, I'm just going to visit a few here, but however you do it - you gotta start walking.

1. Make time. For a week, keep a journal of your every move, everything you do. Note where the idling spots are, the wasted minutes, the waiting for buses, the time in front of reality TV shows you really don't like any more, maybe even meeting with writer friends for time that's more social than productive. These minutes add up.

Box up all that time and carve yourself an hour, maybe two in your daily schedule. This is now your writing time. You do nothing else during this time. You write, or you edit, or you rewrite (which is what most of this gig is anyway), you research, or you just stare at that blank screen or page until something comes to you. No matter how you go about it, that allotted time is for nothing more than writing.

2. Treat it like a job. Be serious. If you're serious about this writing thing, treat it like your job. Would you slack off or talk with your friends or watch TV or surf the net while you were on the clock at your job? Then don't do it here. Here you are the boss and you must be merciless. Fire yourself if need be! No slackers allowed.

Let everyone in your household know that this is your work time. Spouses, partners, children, and pets should all get the word that when you're at your desk (or wherever your workspace is) at a certain time, that this is your job. Do not disturb under any circumstances (except maybe fire or injury). Bothering the writer is forbidden. After all you're on the clock, and you are. Being self-employed is no different than any other job - time is money, money is time, and your time is worth money.

3. Discipline. You've blocked off time. And you are serious. Now is the hard part - stick to it. That time is only for writing. No rationalization, no bargaining, no flex hours. Write when you said you would, every day that you agreed that you would. If you're wishy-washy and don't think you can do this, find another writer in the same situation and keep tabs on each other, keep each other in line. Without discipline the whole system falls apart.

If you say you're a writer, then write. Don't just talk about it. Walk the walk!


  1. Love this!
    But apparently I have an issue with number 2 because I'm at work right now reading this post ...

  2. AS for #1, I have little journal books all over the house and in desk drawer at work. I love to page through them and seem my random scribbles. Good Post!

  3. I had trouble getting past the discipline part.

  4. Great post. My life has changed since I accepted that I MUST write every single day.

  5. Thanks Glenn! You really know how to set the bar for the rest of us. :)


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