All I ever learned about writing came from a slightly above average 1980’s Billy Crystal comedy.

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Okay, so I hope you didn’t think that when I said I was going to “blog every day” that I meant I was going to blog every day! Come on, people. 

Obviously I meant every WEEK day.   

Seriously, though, I realize that I just am not even near a computer enough over the weekend to put out anything worthwhile so I’m going to stick to a 5-day a week schedule, if that’s all right with you? 

Hearing no objections.  Let’s move on. 

I have a few items on the agenda I want to get to but I thought I’d go off on a bit of a non-Steve Austiny tangent today.   

You see, I’m a writer.  Okay, maybe you don’t see.  From the handful of entries on this site that may not be readily apparent.  But, regardless, a writer is how I identify myself.  My boss doesn’t pay me to write and neither does anyone else but I think that if I’m going to reach my goals it really doesn’t pay to say “I want to be a writer.”  That and $4.50 only really gets me an Americano at Starbucks (or one and a half issues of “New Avengers”). 

I AM a writer.  I’ve always been one.  I’m just easily sidetracked and that’s why you haven’t heard of me yet. 

And as a writer I find a lot of ways to waste time and not write.  Much of this time-wasting is, I tell myself, research.  I think any writer reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about here.  You convince yourself you’re gonna start that screenplay just as soon as you finish reading these five books on Quantum Mechanics and re-watch every episode of “The Prisoner” in the correct order this time but you know you’re just treading water, trying not to drown in the sea of your own wicked procrastination. 

The other thing we writers do to avoid writing is we read books about writing and read interviews with writers.  There’s no end to the advice available out there.  A lot of it is great.  (I’d point to Stephen King’s memoir “On Writing” if you’re only going to allow yourself one)  All of it is completely unnecessary. 

But, so what, right?   

I know that it’s just getting in the way but I still persist on taking in a steady stream of writing advice every day.  I listen to a host of podcasts where screenwriters and comic book writers are interviewed, have subscriptions to writing magazines, check out every hot how-to from the local library, and read an endless stream of websites on the subject.  There is just no end to it.   

So, I’m going cold turkey.  Less thinking about writing, more writing about writing! (Okay, well, it’s a start.) 

Now, as a way to clear house I was going to list my twenty rules of writing that I keep taped up near my computer.  It’s just something I’ve culled together over the years from all of the “fantastic” writing tips I’ve gotten.  But, then I realized that that was sort of a waste of time in and of itself and obviously that’s just what I’m trying to avoid here. 

Really, what it all boils down to, I think, is just one important rule.  It’s a rule that comes from (but didn’t originate with) Billy Crystal’s character Larry Donner in the modern American masterpiece “Throw Momma From the Train” and it’s a line that’s repeated often throughout that film… 

“Owen loves his momma.” 

No, that’s not it.  This is it… 

“A writer writes, always.” 

And that really is it, right?  That’s the whole kit and kaboodle.  You can’t really learn to write until you’ve written.  All of the interviews and books and helpful hints and bromides are completely useless unless you’re putting finger to keypad every single day and just doing the work.  Getting through it.  Writing up a forest of pages full of drivel and crap until that one magical day when you write a sentence or even a phrase that at least one other person can read without wincing. 

A writer writes.  Always.  

 This is something my buddy EG and I keep coming back to when we discuss the subject.  It’s the principle reason we’ve both been blogging.  Get in the writing every day whether you like it or not.  Of course, you don’t have to go any farther than the beginning of this blog entry to find me breaking this cardinal rule but, still, I think it’s the only way.    

The only other thing, and there’s always another thing, is probably this… 

“A writer reads, always.” 

This happens to be the second reason that this site came to be.  I’m obviously not talking about reading about writing here.  I’m talking about reading honest to goodness books and such.  Ones with pictures and ones without.  Anything that tells a good story or even a bad story.  You can probably learn from them all.  Heck, I venture to say that I’ve learned more about writing from the contents of my pull list the past couple of years than all the mountains of “How To’s” I’ve ingested.   

So, there you have it – more writing advice.  And from a writer who doesn’t write enough and who has so far been unsuccessful in his writing career.  

Okay, I’ve got more writing to do.  See you tomorrow.

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One Response to “All I ever learned about writing came from a slightly above average 1980’s Billy Crystal comedy.”

  1. Zacheryws Says:

    omg.. good work, dude

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