“Interested” in writing is about self-image while “committed” to writing is about the writing itself.
“But I do want to write my book. I am very interested in writing my book,” I can hear too many writers insisting.
“Wanting to write” a book, “trying to write” one, “being interested in writing” doesn’t make it. It never does.
What I am exploring here with you is a commitment to writing your book and bringing it to successful completion.
In this post, I walk you through the significant distinction between “being interested in writing” and “being committed to writing” and how you can commit yourself to be “committed.”
When you are “interested” in writing, obstacles often prevent you from furthering your book.
- These obstacles are always reasonable and sensible — never an atom bomb exploding in your back yard nor a terrorist attack. At some level, no one can fault you for deferring your writing to them. For instance:
- You simply can’t write now because your husband wants to go out on a drive with you — and he’s been such a dear. “Asking me to accompany him isn’t too much of him to ask is it?”
- When you are committed, you negotiate your time. “I need to write for another hour, but after that, I will gladly go out with you.”
When you are “interested” in writing and it is getting late and you are tired, you don’t write.
- “I’m just too tired,” you say. “I’ve had a hard day.”
- When you are committed, you find a way of showing up. You might say, “I’m too tired to write now but perhaps I can spend an hour reading old journals and taking notes. That’s pre-writing that will move my book forward.”
What does commitment to writing do that “interested” does not?
1. When you are committed, you develop new habits.
- Perhaps you get up earlier. This might involve going to bed earlier also.
- Perhaps you go to the library or to a cafe to write.
- Perhaps you silence the ringer on your phone and let the answering service/machine take messages to respond to later.
2. When you are committed, you organize a support system.
- You read books on writing and you read books on your topic.
- You take classes and workshops.
- You sign up for coaching or editing.
3. When you are committed, you do not crowd your schedule around your writing time.
- You do not schedule an activity before your writing time if that activity is likely to have a time overrun. For instance, if you schedule your writing between 9 and 11 in the morning, you do not plan a doctor’s appointment at 8 — an on-time appointment at a doctor’s office is about as rare as hen’s teeth and it is unlikely you will be back home to write for 9. You can say to the receptionist who calls to schedule an appointment, “Anytime after 11:30 would work for me.” I’m sure you get the idea that commitment to writing involves prioritizing writing in your schedule and subordinating other activities to that schedule.
- If you absolutely can’t reschedule another activity, “committed” arranges to “payback writing time.” You go on your appointment but then you schedule another time to write. “I will write between 1 and 3 this afternoon.”
Stellar points not to be glossed over.
These points I am about to make will get you thinking more deeply about the difference between “commitment” and “interest.”
1. Your writing is your work.
If you are working as a nurse or a therapist or a business office administrator or whatnot, you do not show up at your work when you feel like it or when you are inspired. You have certain hours whether you work full-time or part-time during which you are expected to show up at the job. The same is true of your writing.
I always say “You feel like writing, you write: you don’t feel like writing, you write.”
2. Using time wisely to write your book brings success.
Successful writers find the time to write. They prioritize; they cut out secondary activities; they pass up on distractions that would keep them from writing — distractions like a long-lost friend who calls you in the middle of your writing session.
3. This “trying to write” your book had got to stop.
Some people manage to write a lot of text during the same period of time that others hardly produce anything. Most often, as mentioned above, those who don’t write but who say they “try to write” almost always have really valid reasons.
But, as Yoda would have it, “Do, or do not.”
Commitment will see you through to publication while “interest” is not only not guaranteed to do so but is likely not to. Don’t let yourself slip into excuses: “You know how it is…I was interested in writing my book, but life got in the way!”
The choice is yours…it always is, always has been.
Have you had a difficult experience of committing to your writing? Leave your comment below.