While I was traveling after my wedding, New Moon Girls members were chatting with Victoria Holmes, better known as Erin Hunter (or the “main” Erin Hunter, as it were, since Erin Hunter is a pen name for a team of writers), author of the popular Warriors series for middle grade and young adult readers. Although I wasn’t able to attend the chat, I read the transcript afterwards.
One of the best parts of my work with New Moon is that I get to bring authors and the girl readers of their books together about once a month — and the conversation that ensues always ends up inspiring MY writing, too. About one third of the way into the transcript, Erin insightfully asks:
How do you motivate yourself to write when you don’t feel like it? That’s where I have trouble.
You and me and probably almost every other writer on the planet, Erin! Throughout the years, I’ve come up with various tricks to keep me writing (many of them involving guilt), but I think it’s a testament to Erin’s maturity and understanding of the craft that this is the question she chose to ask. In the question is the implication that she understands something very important about writing: namely, that you MUST write to be a writer, and as such, you must learn to do it even when you don’t feel like it — because you don’t always feel like it.
Victoria Holmes’ answer to Erin is just as valuable:
I tell myself, “Don’t get it right, get it written.”
In fact, I read this at a time when I was still leaning on the crutch of the recent transition in my life to “excuse” my lack of productivity on the writing front. This reminder, so practical, standing for no excuses, was just what I needed to shake me out of it. (Mind you, I’m still writing this very blog post about two weeks behind schedule, BUT I’ve been writing again just the same. I’m finally revising that Rumplestiltskin story, meeting with my writers’ group, and making my deadlines for the Young Adult Catholics blog.) And as a reminder that productivity does invite more of the same, when I started writing again was also when I learned that SUNY Press will be publishing Unruly Catholic Women Writers, Volume II, in which I have an essay entitled, “Where I First Met God.” And the reason the essay is being published? Because back in 2008, I got myself to sit down and get it written.
Thanks for the reminder, Erin and Vicky.