Two Kinds of Writers

There are two kinds of writers:

(1) Those who make their own writing their highest (or almost highest) priority.

(2) Those who try to finish every other task before they feel deserving of writing time.

Confession: I am the latter. See, I have to finish this blog before I can write!

Where did this come from? For how many years did my English homework get top priority? What happened?

You would think this would be fabulous for my clients, students, employers, and children who know I’ll drop everything for them. (Though it’s not so great for the established novelist generously awaiting my novel manuscript.)  But actually, how am I serving you well by postponing an hour of writing with an hour of clearing every minutiae of my inbox? Or even talking to you now, instead of contributing to the critical mass of writing concentration in the world?

Lisa Yee, at an SCBWI conference about six year ago, said she was serious enough about her writing time to take her children’s laundry and throw it on their floors (where it will end up anyway) and to be the weird sports parent writing on the sidelines. (I thought I was the only one!) Of course, she and editor Arthur Levine then bantered about how much Lisa was blogging instead of writing books on schedule. Arthur is not my editor, so I hope he won’t be objecting to this post.

I took comfort from Laurie Halse Anderson at the 2011 SCBWI conference describing her top priorities. Writing is only number–five, I think she said–and she manages to be prolific. There’s something to be said for having real lives and, therefore, something to write about.

But all the same, I’m going now. I have a writing appointment. I hope you do, too. Let me know how it’s going.


Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All rights reserved.

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