Barbara Abercrombie : Just Do It
Just Do It
Open a new Word file, or pick up a pen right now
By Barbara Abercrombie
So you're sitting there reading this, your screen aglow, computer humming, and maybe you're thinking someday I'll start writing. Or: someday I'll go back to writing or: someday I'll dig out that story I started and finish it.
Like that Nike ad said: Just do it. Open a new Word file, or pick up a pen right now. You're fooling around here, just picking up a pen or doodling on the keyboard. (Nothing serious, a coffee date not an affair or engagement.) Write down your fantasy of writing what stories you'll tell, what books you'll write. Write what you'd write if you were to write. You may notice (if you're doing this) that you're writing.
Have fun with the list, yet take it seriously, and remember, no one will see it so you can be as grandiose in your plans as you please. In fact, I encourage you to put on this list all the very best fantasies you can come up with short stories and poems in the New Yorker, novels that the reviewers will call deep hymns to the resilience of the human spirit, and a memoir that Oprah will love because not only does it resonate emotionally but every word is true.
Of course all this will take time to write and how do you find time to add writing to your busy schedule? Just about everybody I know runs around clutching their hair and moaning, "Life is too busy, there's no time!"
So this is what you do:
When my kids were toddlers I'd set the kitchen timer for one hour during their nap time, and the house rule was that unless they were bleeding they could not enter the kitchen and disturb Their Mother Who Was Writing until they heard the timer go off. I made the sanctity of my writing time sound like such a big deal that not only did I convince them to take it seriously, I convinced myself as well.
"One thing about writing is that it takes time." M.F.K. Fisher
© 2007 Barbara Abercrombie. All rights reserved.
Barbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, her fourteenth book is "A Year of Writing Dangerously." More »