So, I was listening to one of my favorite writing podcasts today, I Should Be Writing, and the host, Mur Lafferty, said something important in the latest episode. She said that successful writers don’t get where their by being in the right place at the right time. They get where they are by working their ass off.
She gave some examples, but one comes to my mind that she misses that I heard people talking about, and even bitching about. Patrick Rothfuss. His book, the Name of the Wind, was a huge success right out of the gate. And I learned through some of this kvetching that he had the “luck” of meeting Kevin J. Anderson, got him to read his book, and then Mr. Anderson sent it to his editor. The rest, as they say, is history. But, to say that this was the result of luck is a disservice to both the book and to Patrick Rothfuss. He worked really hard on writing that book. Just as hard as I have on mine. As you have on yours. And even without the help of Kevin J. Anderson, Rothfuss’ book is really good, and it would have been published eventually. Because he put a lot of work into it.
And that’s the point. It takes a lot of work to get a book going. Work that most of us, myself included, don’t always want to do. I find myself sitting at my computer, staring at that blank page, or those few lines that, frankly, just suck, wondering what the hell am I doing. I’d rather be watching Big Bang Theory. Or playing a video game.
And sometimes I do. I don’t want to make it sound like you can never watch TV or play video games ever again.
But the truth is, if I don’t put in the work of actually writing my books, they will never get published. If I don’t put in the work of editing my books, they won’t get published. If I don’t put in the work of submitting my books, they won’t get published.
There’s a lot of work up there. Sometimes, it’s more work than I put into the paying job I put eight hours a weekday into.
But, given that there is all that work to do, I want to talk about the attitude I need to take towards that work.
Someone I listened to this weekend had some good advice for me. There are the “get to’s” verses the “got to’s.”
“Got to’s” always complain about HAVING to do something. “I GOT to get some writing done tonight.” You can almost see their eyes rolling as they put that tweet out. It’s a chore for them.
“Get to’s” are the exact opisit. “I get to do some writing RIGHT NOW!” It’s far more exciting and fun. It’s not a chore. It’s play time. Play time that might turn into a paying job, but even if and when it does, it’s still play time. Then, it becomes “I get to write, AND they pay me for it!”
I don’t know about you, but I want to change my attitude from a “Got to” to a “Get to.”
That really all I have to say for now. Until then, I get to do some writing!