Time for another lesson with David Sedaris. Learning never stops when you’re a writer. Today’s topic is about how he turns his observations into stories, and I have to say that his lesson surprised me. I thought he would start out with another story about his life or something that happened to someone he knows but he started to speak about showing up at your writing desk every day.
The beginning of his lesson talked about the discipline of writing and doing it every day. He said that creating that kind of writing routine may make you “kind of drag” because it means that you might not go to that party or go out with friends. He had to stop himself from going out “just this once” or say no to friends in order to show up for his job every day.
His candidate and to the point way of talking about what it means to be a writer helps other people who want to write that book understand what it takes. He said that if “it means that much, you’re going to find the time to do”. If you really want that book to be published, you’ll find the time to do because you have the time to watch that show you love or you spend hours on social media.
Knowing that David has best selling books, and that he worked a full time job and went home at night to write a book gives him the understanding of what it means to find the time to write. In fact, I’m sitting here with my drooping eyes and I was ready to go to bed early but I got up to write because it’s part of my routine. The nagging feeling of not doing something that’s become a part of my every day life gets me back up to keep going.
Including writing into what you do every day is going to help you get that novel done. I know because I used to make excuses and I stopped writing for a few years. Creating a discipline for myself got me out of writing blocks.
David went on to share his diary entries. This is one of his prompts that he uses every day that turn into stories. He turns them into vignettes, and he takes some of them and turns them into essays or longer stories. He continued to say that taking a short part of story can be dangerous because you often start out with the strongest point of a story and it can “peter out”. It’s like starting with the punchline of a joke.
He said taking pieces of a what you wrote during a day means that you need to decide how you’re going to come back to the same kind of strong point, or keep it at that same level. What you don’t want to happen is for the story to start to die out until you get to the end and everyone’s relieved that it’s over. In other words, writing is a decisive process. You choose to sit down and write, and you choose how you’re going to keep yourself and the audience interested in the story. But you can’t get there if you don’t have what it takes to sit down and write.
In order to help you get started, use David’s daily routine. Sit down and write a diary entry for 10-15 minutes. Then, keep doing it every day. If that’s too much, start with a few days a week and then build on it just like you would a story, but the story is about your real life. Turn yourself into an author by writing every day.
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Get closer to your writing goals with my Writer’s Journal filled with writing prompts and exercises. You can find a copy at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0931QRL7C/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_VTHN0QSHXRYK6RJ1XSWQ.