LIfe is short, writing is hard, and we live in an age of distraction.
Aside from the necessities of life (your job, your health, your family, your relationships, etc.), there are SO many things to waste one’s time on; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, video games, news outlets, TV (for those who still watch TV, if not, Netflix/Hulu). I’m not immune to these distractions either. I could be working on book three of Convergence, and here I am blogging (way to go, J!). But, the thing is, I know I’m being distracted. I’m not kidding myself here. Every blog I post, every meme I share, every tweet I retweet is just a few more precious minutes chipped off my already finite mortal existence, but one time-waster I’ve never enjoyed is excessively sharing quotes about writing instead of actually writing. I’m sorry, but that one feels just a bit too ironic for me.
Now, on the surface, inspirational and motivational quotes about writing can be wonderfully uplifting, encouraging, and wise. I mean, look at some of these amazing quotes. Don’t they just make you want to jump up and write something?
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
“I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”
—Tom Clancy, WD
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King, WD
Yes, sir! Mr. King! Right away! Just as soon as I take your lovely quote, slap it on a soothing 200×300 px digital greeting card and share it on my Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest next to my thousands of other inspirational quotes that I share to show everyone how insightful and dedicated I am to my craft. But, after that, I’ll get right on that writing.
You know what I’m talking about. If you’re a writer with any sort of online presence, you’ve seen a LOT of this. I get it; we need things/content to share/retweet to drum up interest for our accounts, so it isn’t all just self-promotion or political diatribe. Who knows? Maybe these quotes actually might go out and find someone who does need to be inspired, and maybe they will jump right up and crack open that Word processor all because they found that inspiring Ray Bradbury quote on your feed and it changed their life for the better.
It’s possible…maybe…okay, probably not.
I’m not saying there aren’t things we’ve read or heard that haven’t inspired us to achieve greatness or that don’t strike a chord within the deepest depths of our souls. There have been some damn powerful speeches and memorable quotes that people have genuinely taken to heart, and that’s a wonderful thing, BUT like all things in life, moderation is important. If you really are inspired by those dozens of quotes you share every day about writing, wouldn’t you be writing?
Yes, I am aware that I’m a terrible cynic, but why spend all day talking (or tweeting) about writing when you can actually write? Don’t become distracted by the grandiose idea of writing as expressed by others whose quotes you greedily hoard, experience it for yourself! Hemingway, Kerouac, and Bradbury aren’t going to magically appear out of the ether and write this shit for you!