I have a confession to make. Several, actually.
The first is that I was born lazy.
I’m not an expert on how genes work. But here’s what I do know: my mom passed some of her ambitious chromosomes on to me, and my dad gave me his love of sitting and constant need to be reminded to get up and finish what he started.
Don’t get me wrong — both of my parents are amazing, have accomplished many amazing things (not including making me).
But being a product of the two of them, I am one part goal-oriented, two-parts needing to not do work after five p.m.
I am very ambitious when I want to be. And the idea of being able to say I did something cool is a lot more fun than actually having to sit down and do the cool thing.
Take graduate school, for example. I applied to a program in communications so that, eighteen months later, I could be a more credible writer with some letters after my name.
It was a very long eighteen months. I did not want to study communications. I just wanted to HAVE STUDIED it.
Granted, when I commit to something, I don’t give up easily. So even though I silently kicked and screamed my way through my master’s degree, I finished with a 3.5 GPA having worked just hard enough to excel, and not a keystroke more.
Writing is hard. You know this.
For many people — myself included — being able to say you have written a book is the ultimate dream. Until you realize that before you can say, “I have written a book,” at some point you have to glue your butt to a chair and you have to spend anywhere from two months to ten years writing a book word by word until some primitive creative instinct tells you you’re done.
Writing is not fun. It is time-consuming and exhausting and sometimes you’d much rather glue your entire body to a few couch cushions and re-watch all 10 seasons of FRIENDS because for some reason that’s just what people do on weekends now.
But there is a gap that exists between WANT TO HAVE WRITTEN and HAVE WRITTEN. And only you can fill that gap. By writing.
And that requires work.
It requires temporarily silencing every cell in your body that wants not to work so that the cells bursting with ambition can fuel the hours you have to spend at a keyboard typing away, even though your setup is not ergonomically sound and your hands hurt and you want to Couch.
I’m still figuring all this out. This balancing act that is being a writer who was born lazy. And so are you.
On the outside, I know it looks like I do a lot. And truly, I do.
But it is not easy. It is a daily challenge, to wake up before the sun, to consume caffeine even though I don’t even like it that much, to go to work, to leave work, to sit down again, to write things.
Not because anyone is making me or reminding me to do it, but because the part of me that wants to do it is louder than the part of me that could live without.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I get it.
I get how hard it is to go against the natural flow of your own existence, to do the hard thing, to push yourself when you’d rather just stay put.
You can learn to do what you do not want to do.
It’s part of your training. Part of what it takes to go from “want to” to “have done.”
Only you can choose to do it. To learn, to train, to do.
Laziness is not a reason why you cannot. It is an excuse. One anyone can overcome, if they search deep inside themselves for the ambition somewhere within, waiting.
I do it. You can do it. Maybe we all can. Or already have.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
6 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Sort Of Mostly Lazy Writer-In-Training”
Replace 10 seasons of Friends with 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, and this pretty much describes me in a giant darker-brown nutshell! =)
hahaha this actually made me laugh out loud. Why is TV so goooood?
Because it is the stories we wished we were a part of without the effort involved in creating it. Or something.
Ugh. This is too true. :/
I’m the type that I pound out 5,000 words all at once, then don’t have an original idea for another six months. Feast or famine here. *sigh*
Oh, and I’m lazy, too. :)
Pace yourself, for goodness’ sake!! (But really, I relate to this problem so much it physically hurts.)