Shut up, sit down, and write


Writers write.  Some of us are driven to write. All we ever wanted to be was a  writer. We need words.  Painters paint. Photographers shoot. Musicians play. We write.

Some of us talk about writing, but struggle with discipline and commitment.  I have struggled with these same issues. Some of us just talk about how we want to write poetry, a novel, a play, or a screenplay.  Some of us may write in spurts and then not write at all for days. I have done this, too.

Yet, as Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones,  asserts “Finally, one just has to shut up, sit down and write.”  I read this book years ago.  The main lesson I came away with was to make writing practice a habit. I have formed a habit of writing out of acceptance.

Commitment. Discipline. Yes, of course.  For me, it also comes down to accepting that to be writer I have always to be , I must surrender to the obsession to write and do the work that must be done.  This acceptance drives now drives my commitment and discipline.

One hasn’t become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating. – Niyi Osundare

How committed are you today? What drives you? What makes you shut up, sit down,  and write?



Filed under The Writing Habit, Writing

6 responses to “Shut up, sit down, and write

  1. Thank you for posting this today! I really needed to “hear” that quote by Natalie Goldberg, especially today! 🙂

  2. Gabriel Scala

    If I had an answer to that question, I’d probably be finished with my book by now. 🙂 I find that writing comes in blocks for me – I’ll write every day for weeks and then – nothing. At least, on that project. I’ll switch to something else – a poem, a blog post. I’m writing almost everyday (weekends excepted – you gotta get a break sometime!) – but working steadily on one project seems to be problematic for me. Glad to see you sticking with the blog!

    • Yes, I tend to write a few days a week on the major project, but setting it aside for a day or two allows me to exhale. Writing the blog has been good for me; it’s a nice change of pace. You are right we need days off, but like you said in your blog posting, Cleaning Closets, we can be doing other things, but we are always writing. Thanks Gabriel!

  3. Wonder if you know of a book by a good friend of mine, Judy Bridges, SHUT UP & Write! ? You can see why you’re post made me think of it — I bet you’d enjoy it! Thanks for the post.

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