Before the days of Netflix, as early as the age of no cable at home, but late into the post-reading era, my family used to hit up the library to check out movies on VHS. They had a selection comparable to what most videophile families wound up with after the fallout from the DVD asteroid finally killed off the last of the VCRosaurs. As a result, we’d wind up revisiting old favorites much more often than we’d explore new cinematic territory. Anne of Green Gables. The Peanut Butter Solution. Steel Magnolias. If watching the same movie 200 times is a crime, these were the objects of our recidivism. But they weren’t my favorites.
My personal favorite, or at least an easy qualifier in the top five, was Throw Momma from the Train, in which Billy Crystal plays a distressed writer who unintentionally inspires Danny DeVito to initiate a murder swap (which would be my new favorite reality show . . . okay, not really, I don’t think people should kill people for ratings . . . but still . . .), Larry’s ex-wife for Owen’s mother. The plot isn’t really isn’t relevant to this post . . . okay, nothing I’ve written so far is relevant to this post, but trust me, this is going somewhere.
My favorite non-funny line in the film is the mantra Larry issues to his writing students at the end of each class: “Remember, a writer writes . . . always.”
I have loved that line and the spirit of it (the weary, crushed spirit of it, in Larry’s severely blocked case) for as long as I’ve been a writer. And I’ve been a writer a long time. I still am. I love the saying more than I apply it, though. I’m prone to going long spells without writing much of anything. I will say, most of what I write you don’t see. Some of what I write, I write for specific people. Some of it is for me. Some is for hire. But not nearly enough of it is for the overarching goal of always generating words and thoughts and stories and dreams and all that my writing could be. My writing should be all that it can be. That comes only from hard work, dedication, discipline, and faithfulness to the streams of inspiration that never cease to flow no matter how persistently I choose to ignore them.
Yes, my writing should be all it can be, so I suppose it’s time for a little Writing Boot Camp. Yep. Definitely.
I’m sure you know the excuses for not writing. I’m too busy. I’m emotionally, physically, and creatively exhausted. I’ve got nothing to write about. I don’t want to write for free. My butt hurts. I can’t write when my butt hurts. All the common excuses we all use every day.
Well guess what? I’m getting off my sore butt and doing something to make my writing what it can be, what it should be, what it must be. Wait . . . I guess I’m not getting off my sore butt so much as getting back on it, since I do write sitting down more than any other position. So . . . that’s right, I finally have the resolve and motivation to get right back on my ass. Who’s with me?
Here’s my plan: write every day for at least an hour. Write for at least ten hours a week. Post something here every day. Write professionally every day. Write something deeply personal every single day. Write one thing that challenges the reader (and the writer) to change in a significant way, every week. (Every day would be seriously annoying overkill. Nobody likes change.) Do this for at least one month, then I’ll evaluate how it went and go from there. I don’t see this as temporary at all, but I do want to define the period of time if for no other reason than to make sense of calling it a boot camp.
Are you a writer? Are you sick and tired of not writing always? Do you want to commit to writing more? If so, join me. Make up your own rules, please. Mine are customized to working around my non-writing schedule, but if you have more time on your hands, by all means commit more time each day and week to writing. Regardless, I think it would be fun and maybe slightly productive to do this as a group.
I realize I have been almost completely socially disconnected from the entire interwebs for quite some time. It’s been my recluse phase. You should try it, it’s great. But not now. Now is Writer Boot Camp time, WBC time, if you will. . . . Will you?
If you want to join in the Writer Boot Camp madness, let me know. Or don’t. But commit to it. Do it. And write your ass off. A writer writes . . . always. And always starts now.
Or it started forever ago, but for motivational purposes it starts now. K? Cool. Let’s do it.