How to Keep Writing

Print made by 7Plums, an Etsy shop. Click the photo to purchase it.

Ah, Ira Glass. You are one of my favorite storytellers. This American Life has made me laugh, cry, and wonder. His beautiful summation of the trickiness of creativity is exactly the reminder I need to keep going.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been writing since I was in second grade. I’ve had success and a lot of failures in that time. The one thing that I know for sure is that I’m still learning as a writer. Whenever I approach a new draft or have to rewrite, I’m always faced with the nagging doubt that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.

I was talking to my friend Yin about writing since we’re both in the same class with Claudette Sutherland. I encouraged her to keep writing, get the mess onto the paper, and then look at it, and take another stab at it.

People often email me about being a writer. Should they get an MFA? Should they quit their day job? How do they become a TV writer? I don’t mean to sound trite—these are all valid questions—but write, then write some more. Understand that some days you want to quit. Quitting sounds so nice. You don’t have to deal with the doubts or sitting your butt down to write some crappy pages. There are plenty of excuses you can tell yourself not to write, but if you really want it, then do it.

Let yourself be messy, terrible at it, and scared.

Slowly, as Ira says, you’ll close the gap.

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