04 September 2013

The Wisdom of Mr. Scot

My friend Hudson keeps a most excellent blog. One of his recent entries includes some wisdom from various writers of various writings about writing and sticking it out and what it means to be a pro. Included in them is a quote from Brian K. Vaughn. He wrote Y: The Last Man and worked on LOST. He says,
“Write more, do other stuff less.”
That’s huge, and something I’ve been unwilling to do until recently. I have so many other interests, hobbies, preoccupations, responsibilities. At the top of the list has been, historically, PC games and I've been largely unable to kick that habit until the last year (having a kid helps with that). I actually feel good about it. I feel like a grown up. The only PC game I play right now is LOTRO, and that most often with my wife. But still, other things linger and cut into time that may (or may not) be better used if I were writing.
Lately this has been doubly difficult because I'm not writing much; the time I usually spend doing that has been invested in the third draft of my book, which I want to get edited down and punched up as quickly as possible so I can start the loathsome process of shopping it around for a potential publisher/agent (or putting it online and publishing independently). 
But, getting back to the idea of creating space for one's work, something that has stuck with me for years and years is a quote from from Star Trek: Generations. Scotty tells Kirk, “If something’s important, you make the time”.

There is lots of conventional wisdom out there, especially in the blogosphere (yes, that's still a thing) about just doing it. Crushing it. Living your dreams. Making it happen. Killing excuses and whatnot. The issue is that this is easier said than done. Anyone is physically capable of doing what they want to do (barring disabilities) to a certain degree; anyone can go outside and walk and choose to eat better. Anyone can pick up a pen and start writing, or start snapping photos with their phones and posting them, or begin painting or drawing or dancing or producing a vlog about Adventure Time. The true issue is impetus. How are you going to get going?

To make us all feel smarter, here is another quote: 
"Begin--to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished." -- Marcus Aurelius
We Christians also love this one:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -- Philippians 4:
Beginning, doing, does seem to take an act of God sometimes. We are a culture obsessed with comfort and consumption. I feel the pull of the Market constantly. And even those of us who shun popular culture and dig our little internet-trenches are caught in the same web: consuming the latest blog, podcast, YouTube series, forum thread, game, or Tweet produces the same results as sitting and watching network television for three hours a night -- you're not actually producing.

The time must be made. That hill must be cleared or we go back to our favorite refrain: "later". I don't know what has to happen for the time to be made. I don't know what has pushed me, in recent years, to start pruning things out of my life so that I can write a little bit more, or why I want to prune even more furiously to make more room for writing. Call it a stirring of the Spirit. Call it getting older. I just hope it sticks.

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