Keep Writing.

I’ve had a few people ask me about writing habits, what compels me to write, and how to keep the habit.

A couple of thoughts:


Don’t worry about what it looks like, or how much of it you’re doing.


Don’t worry about who’s reading it, or what they’re saying, or whether or not anyone’s reading it.

Don’t worry about whether or not it’s “the right time,” or that you’re in your pajamas at 1 AM scrawling out a couple of things.

Don’t worry if it’s 6 AM and you forgot to wash your face and you still need to brush your teeth and the coffee is cold, or warm, or not even made at all–or if you’re on your tenth cup.

Don’t worry about whether you’re writing on a bus in between trips, on a notebook without any lines on it, on a age-old laptop (mine’s called Tubby, by the way, ’cause he’s a real chunker), or whether you’re working in Pages or Word or Tumblr or WordPress.


Don’t worry if you switch topics and platforms and ideas and think that it’s all confusing other people. It doesn’t matter.


Maybe don’t make too much of a plan, other than the basic commitment to keep showing up and writing about whatever you want to write about.

Don’t worry–at least not yet, and maybe not even then–about what it adds up to, or what it will become, or even why you’re doing it.

Don’t worry about only having 20 or 30 minutes a day to write; don’t be discouraged. Keep writing, whenever and however you can. A couple thoughts a day for a month can add up before you know it. Write when you can, and thank yourself for doing it.

Don’t worry about the fact that your life doesn’t look like a “writer’s lifestyle,” or the fact that you have a job or you only have limited time each day to write. Mark Twain was an insurance salesman, if it makes you feel any better.


Don’t worry about whether or not you don’t have a bed to sleep in at the moment, or if you have a house over your head, or if the bed you do have is too short for you so you’ve got to sleep on the concrete floor in your sleeping bag for a couple of months.


Don’t worry about the people who don’t understand why you need to write, and if someone tells you that writing isn’t important or that you aren’t a good writer or that you shouldn’t spend so much time writing, by all means do it anyway, because it’s not about whether or not they think you should write, but about whether or not you think you should write.

Don’t worry about not getting enough sleep, about forgetting to wear deodorant, about feeling incompetent, about not being sure what to say.

Don’t worry if your first ten, twenty, or an entire year’s worth of posts are shit and you can’t figure out if you’ll ever be able to string together words in the way you want to.


Just keep writing. Writers write.


Remember: Just keep writing. The only way to become a writer is to write.

And all of the above, for me, has been true. And I kept writing, and so should you.

With love,

27 Responses to Keep Writing.

  1. “Just keep writing. Writers write.”

    Yes!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Sarah. For me, having to accept that I still have much to learn and practice before I can write as well as I’d like, is the hardest part to work through. And lately my mind is filled with so many ideas from blogs and books that there’s too little space left for my own (creative) thoughts.
    So I’m going to disconnect a little more during the next weeks, and follow your two simple (but not always easy) tips: Move more (walk + talk) and just keep writing.

  3. Carol Wills says:

    Sarah, I really needed to hear what you said today. Thank you!!!

  4. Thanks for the words of wisdom, and encouragement. I’ve uploaded my first blog post but the second one has been a challenge. Where do I go from here? What do I want my blog to be about, exactly? As you said, I don’t need to worry about this. I just need to write.

  5. Lillian says:

    I noticed that all your paragraphs relate to fear. So once we get over thay and make things happen, we are open to a lot of possibilties & opportunities.
    As a newbie blogger, sometimes its scary to share my experiences but feel it was all worth it after I hit the publish button & look at my masterpiece

  6. Exactly what I needed to read right now. Such a great piece, Sarah.

  7. […] Keep Writing. Don’t worry about the people who don’t understand why you need to write, and if someone tells you that writing isn’t important or that you aren’t a good writer or that you shouldn’t spend so much time writing, by all means do it anyway, because it’s not about whether or not they think you should write, but about whether or not you think you should write. […]

  8. Juliana says:

    Hey Sarah,
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I am originally from Brazil and writing in english is a big challenge for me. This is my first visit on your blog and I look forward to see future great posts!

    Best,

    Juliana

  9. I just loved this hon, exactly what I needed to hear! Xo

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  11. Dana Sitar says:

    This is beautiful, thank you! Definitely have to spread the word around.

    I just discovered your blog through Cordelia Calls it Quits — I look forward to reading more :)

  12. John Dieker says:

    Sarah, thanks for the encouragement to keep writing, and not worry about what it looks like and how much I’m doing….it was very timely for me. You’re an inspiration…

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  14. Kaitlyn says:

    Excellent message. So easy to forget and just the reminder I needed :)

  15. Thanks for this today, Sarah. I’ve been going strong (100 Posts in 100 Days) but having hit that 100 Post Milestone, I’m in a bit of a post-honeymoon dip. I’m sure you know it, “So WHY am I doing this again?”

    But this one really helps:

    Don’t worry–at least not yet, and maybe not even then–about what it adds up to, or what it will become, or even why you’re doing it.

    It’s strange, on positive days, I know exactly why I’m doing it. But then it seems odd that I can so quickly forget on negative days.

    This is also a biggie:

    Don’t worry about the people who don’t understand why you need to write.

    I think addicts might understand best. For me, writing is a like a drug: I can’t kick it. I’ve given it a recent long hiatus, but I knew I could never truly be rid of it–thank God.

    Anyway, thank you so much for this post. It’s a big help.

  16. […] Keep Writing from It Starts With A message I always need. Another look at it. (And while I’m not sure I fully agree with all of it, the pulse underneath is awesome.) […]

  17. Karina says:

    Every time I sit down and read your blog, I always read something that I needed to see. I was thinking about how little time I had to write since I started teaching and there was no point to keep on doing it.

    But why? I enjoy writing. I enjoy crafting stories, posts, or whatever else related to it so I will continue doing it even if it does seems pointless to others.

    The phrase “Just keep writing” always remind me of Finding Nemo’s Dory “Just keep swimming.” Random thought, I know.

    Great post!
    Karina

  18. […] Keep Writing The only advice we need… […]

  19. meligrosa says:

    :))

    “Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”
    -Alan Watts

  20. Well said. There are days when I question my abilities to write, doubt my stories and yet, I must write and leave the critic at the door and let the muse walk right in and stay for as long as she will.

  21. I can really relate to this. I just started a blog and this describes my current way of looking at it. I can wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas and the urge to write. So thank you for putting it down in words!

  22. […] Fridays, Cordelia posts her “Love Links.” A while back, she share a post entitled Keep Writing by Sarah Kathleen Peck of It Starts With. After reading that link, I asked myself, “O.k., why AM […]

  23. […] is kinda how I feel about blogging. I like this line – Don’t worry if your first ten, twenty, or an entire year’s worth of posts […]