Be Boring

When I was first starting to really take myself seriously as a writer (as in writing every day and trying to actively get published), I remember thinking that I was way too boring to write anything exciting. I mean, I don’t do drugs, or get black out drunk every night. I don’t go wild and travel through dangerous areas in the dead of night. Hell, I think the most dangerous thing I do on a regular basis is walk into my bookshelf nearly every morning when I’m getting ready for work because despite nearly a year of it being in the same place, it’s always a surprise!

I grew up with stories about the wild antics of writings, with the motto ‘write drunk, edit sober’ being thrown around by everyone I knew. I always thought I was too much of a bore to fit in, but what I’ve found over the last few years has been the opposite. Schedules actually help me keep at my writing more than any sort of wild life ever could.

Knowing that I’m home by 4 every day and sticking to the schedule lets me prepare to write. It’s become a habit now. I don’t have to sit and wait to be inspired to write, it’s simply 4:00 and time to write. Most of the writers I know who are successful do this. They write and take care of themselves. There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large, the writers who are making it in the creative world work on schedules, not whims.

Now clearly not every day works out in an ideal way, but having a steady life where I am not totally clueless about what’s coming next helps keep me grounded. When I’m not stressing about what’s going to happen tomorrow (or where I’m going to get my next fix) keeps me focused on the story at hand. I’ve fond that the only real way to get any writing accomplished is really simple: sit on your butt (or stand at your standing desk) and write. There’s nothing else that puts the words into the world. Not talking about writing, not daydreaming, not reading. At the end of the day the only way to write is…. to write.

And a boring, stable life helps that happen.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to keep a boring life in all aspects. Try new things, travel to new places, eat weird food that you can’t pronounce, and do things that scare you, but never feel like having a stable life is a disadvantage when it comes to being creative.



  1. Jeroen Steenbeeke Said:

    I don’t know about you, but to me, “write drunk, edit sober” sounds like a terrible idea. Granted, I have written a chapter or two while intoxicated, but this is really rare.

    I think it’s the nature of creative people to be chaotic, but this chaos isn’t all-defining. Having dozens of brilliant ideas won’t do you any good if you don’t take the time to write, or let yourself be distracted. This is even more important if you have deadlines.

    Sure, there are plenty of examples of “wild writers”, but I think you’ll find that most writers who actually get things done can be quite structured in their day-to-day writing. Of course, this is a gut feeling, not at all backed by any sources or statistics 😉

  2. Laura W. Said:

    I have to agree. Perhaps the “write drunk, edit sober” people get more attention…but there are plenty of success stories that don’t rely on that. Personally, I think the idea that the writer has a wild lifestyle is just another part of the myth that writing is this terribly difficult, impossible, incomprehensible creative process thing that almost no one can do, and you have to be really special and unique to write. Sure, writing is hard, but you don’t have to have any particular lifestyle to be able to do it.

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