Shut up and do your damn work.
*Writer or not, this is worth reading to the bottom*
If there is any truth to writing, it’s that very little gets done talking about it. The same can be said for nearly every other creative endeavor or enterprise.
Charles Bukowski, an outspoken opponent of any sort of collaborative writing, once shared the following in his gnarly book …
“The worst thing for a writer is to know another writer, and worse than that, to know a number of other writers. Like flies on the same turd.”
Like flies on the same turd.
Bukowski was a bit of an asshole where it concerned other writers, speaking quite badly of folks like Faulkner and even Shakespeare.
The way he wrote of them reminds me of a starving mangey mutt guarding tooth and nail his favorite trashcan.
He approached the craft like the world wasn’t big enough for too many good writers; as if there were only so many readers to go around.
While I don’t share this exact same sentiment, I recognized early on in my writing career the dangers of falling victim to the Santa-size list of activities that can take you away from writing…
Trying to be clever on Twitter; PornHub; the rabbit hole that is Wikipedia; YouTube, YouTube and more YouTube; drinking (in excess); taking one too many trips to the figurative water cooler; consuming sugar or anything fried; meetings and meetings about meetings; email (still fighting this crux); Instagram (this crux too); wars with critics online.
And, in addition to the great big heaping blob up above, I would also include attending, in excess, writing conferences and retreats and workshops and all those offers for a free cup of coffee in exchange for an hour of “picking your brain”.
There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with the above, at least not in small increments. It only becomes toxic when it starts to cut into your writing time.
Because, like I said at the beginning of this article, if there is any truth to writing, it’s that very little gets done talking about it.
So, instead, write and then talk.
In Pressfield’s book, he touches briefly on his writing process. It can best be summarized as follows…
Each morning he sits down at his desk. He writes until exhaustion or when he catches himself making silly typos (which generally happens around the 4–5-hour mark). He then gets up from his desk. Stores what he wrote on a flash drive. Puts the flash drive in his truck in case of a fire. And, finally, he closes up shop and clocks out for the day.
I’m not friends with Pressfield. So, I don’t know what the hell he does in his spare time. But, as long as it doesn’t include cocaine and hookers, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that each day, the writer who has given us gifts like The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire, gets his ass out of bed and does his damn work.
(Pressfield serves humanity best when he’s at his desk, not when he’s having circle jerks at writing conferences with other writers.)
Sit down, shut up and do your damn work.
The greatest gift writers can give to other writers is simply (or not so simply) showing up and doing their work.
Writers having the tenacity to make their contribution to the world gives other writers more inspiration than any words that could be shared over a cup of coffee.
So, in closing.
Do your work.
Then, once the work is done for the day, if talking about it tickles your fancy… talk about it all you want.
But, I digress.
By Cole Schafer.
You gotta check this out — Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.
Originally published at https://www.honeycopy.com on June 1, 2020.