Friday, February 17, 2012

"The trick is not to become a writer, it is to stay a writer. Day after day, year after year, book after book. And for that, you must keep working, even when it seems beyond you."
Harlan Ellison  (In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has won more awards for the 75 books he has written or edited, the more than 1700 stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns, the two dozen teleplays and a dozen motion pictures he has created, than any other living fantasist.) 
I wondered why I was not familiar with Harlan Ellison until I looked at his work. I have to say he uses more profanity and vulgarity than I can handle. But his quote is wonderfully right on target. If you really enjoy writing, then you also constantly try to improve your skills. Every book is a challenge. With every book, you raise your standard. And logically, every book is harder to write. It doesn't get easier; it gets harder. In addition to that, you have lost the glow of first love. The honeymoon is over. This is work. (Pardon the cliches. I wouldn't allow those in any book I wrote, but I'm going to trust you can handle two cliches so I can get this posted and get back to work.)
I admit, from time to time, I've fallen into the pit of "beyond you." Didn't Little Christian of Pilgrim's Progress fall into the slough of Despond? I have to give myself a lecture. "This is fun. Quit thinking about the miles of work ahead and stick to the moment. Because, talking dragons are fun. Yes, they are. You betcha!"
This Twilight Zone was written by Harlan Ellison.
I'm going to go have some fun now. You keep at it, too!


  1. Thanks for the encouragement :) God Bless!

  2. Thank you so much for this post! THIS is exactly what I needed to see. I've written eight books (all as yet unpublished), and you've actually read a chapter of my work. I'm Caitlin Schesser, the girl with the dragon story. Well, that story needs A LOT of work, but alas.

    Anyway, God's moved me onto other series, and I'm in the middle of the beginning of the third book in a series I'm writing, and I had wondered why the whole "fuzzy warm writing feeling" was elusive. It's work now! Raised standards! Thank you SO MUCH for reminding me. :D

  3. what happens when other things get in the way like school i try to stay on track but i seem to have no time because of school and in bed and even at school my mind floats to the book i should be writting and starts thinking of a part of the book and its a really good idea but it s far from the part of the book ime at like at the end when ime at the begining what should i do?

  4. @jenna

    Great question! It is perfectly fine to know what will happen in a future scene.

    I got stuck several times while writing my books. I knew where I wanted my story to end up, but I was not sure how to get there. Something that helped me was to ask advice from my critique partners.

    Creating an outline might help your plot flow smoothly. You could also carry around a notebook, recorder, or smartphone to record ideas when you come up with them. This will allow you to come back to them later without having to worry about forgetting them.