Write or Flight

Fight or flight.  Along with “sex or food,” that is perhaps the only biological constant that holds true no matter the species, no matter the environment, no matter the situation…hell, as a sci-fi guy I have zero doubt that those two hold true no matter, even, the planet or star!

Well, for those like me, those of the writerly bent, that evolves into “write or flight.”  You either have something to say, something to write, or you don’t.  Or, more to the point, you run away until you do have something to write.

It goes back, honestly, to that old and overused bit of “advice” we’ve all heard or read: writers write.

If the number of people who said they were writers actually wrote, we would need one hell of a lot more bookstores…

“I’m a writer, you know.”

“Cool, what was the last thing you wrote?”

“Well, I don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.”

“That’s not what I asked.  What was the last thing you wrote?”

“Err…  Umm…  I don’t have an agent or a publisher yet…“


Screw overused, it really is true: writers write.

Okay, sure, Dickens pimped his ass out for a publisher from the get-go, but Twain wrote his best stuff long before anyone ever thought his little nom-de-plum was worth a damn…

The Tale of Genji was hand-copied a thousand years ago…

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch was passed by samizdat* long before Khrushchev ever let it go “officially” to print…

*A uniquely Russian word — and concept — for the underground press.  Mostly it was individuals copying a work on old-school mechanical typewriters and passing it along to a handful of others in the “chain”.

The Outsiders was written during high school classes, with no thought or dream of it ever seeing the light of day…

The Aeneid was written as pure propaganda-for-hire….okay, so that one really was written for the publisher, but it is the exception that proves the rule!  Or something!

My point is this: if you have a good idea, if you have a good story, you write it.  Period.  That’s it.  Once it’s written — err, once it’s been revised and revised and revised and perfected — then you figure out how you’re going to make money from it.

Writers write.

Whether it’s good or bad…whether it’s publishable or not…whether it’s “acceptable” or not, writers write.

When you come to that point where you have a choice…

When you come to that point where you just don’t know…

When it comes to that point where you wonder just who you are…

You write it.

You always write it.

Screw the rest of it the bullshit.  Screw all the nonsense and advice and random worries, just write it.

Anything else will make you miserable.

And, by the way, if it doesn’t make you miserable to not write, then maybe you ain’t cut out for this life in the first place…

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