Monday, August 08, 2011

Are You Delaying Your Writing Career?

Everyone remembers getting a learner’s permit and then driver’s license. If you were smart, it all happened within a year.

In Oregon, you got your permit when you were 15 and then went for your driver’s test at 16. When I turned 15, I immediately went down and got my permit.

My mother took me out a few times, but it always ended in disaster. She did not have the patience and I just couldn’t get the hang of a stick shift. (We had a Honda CVCC and a VW Bus.)

That summer, my high school offered a free driver’s ed class. My best friend took it, but for some reason, I didn’t. Not when I had three months to be lazy! My mom and I kept trying, but we weren’t making much headway.

My 16th birthday came and went. Permit expired.

At the beginning of my junior year, I got another permit and took driver’s ed. This time, it was $50. Oops. But I finished at the top of my class and was among the first to go out for the actual driving. A few more times with my mom, and I thought I had a handle on it.

Cue the beginning of my senior year. Permit expires again. Why should I go get my license when my boyfriend has a car?

Before I graduated, I got my permit for a third time. My boyfriend took me out driving in both that old VW and his automatic transmission Pinto. After graduation, I was ready! I took the driver’s test… and failed! I still could not handle that giant stick shift in the VW.

During the next 30 days, my boyfriend took me out in his Pinto almost daily. I went back, taking his car instead, and finally passed.

What does this have to do with writing? Think of all the missed opportunities! Three permits, two attempts at a license, and a driver’s ed class that should’ve been free.

How many times do we do something similar with our writing? We begin but never finish. We hear about a contest but never enter. We network but never do anything with those contacts. We attempt publication but don’t put forth enough effort or pick the wrong vehicle.

Have you been delaying your writing career?


  1. Having not being allowed to drive as I would be a danger on the road,
    (Yes really, I'm Epiletic) I took to writing only thirteen years ago when I put my grief onto paper, One book published I have waited 3 years before I decided to compile the second, I work at my own pace and find great satisfaction.

    Enjoy your day.

  2. Such an important post, Diane! I've frequently thought that my biggest moment as a writer was when I made a conscious decision and PLAN to be published.

  3. I know I delayed for a very long time.

  4. Good post, Diane. I know I'm guilty of this - life keeps getting in the way (which it most certainly is allowed to do) and slowing my forward progress down :)

  5. I think we are all guilty of self-sabotaging! And we become first rate at thinking up excuses. I should have started writing 20 years ago!

    Great post.

  6. I agree with Ellie. I have been writing on and off for awhile and in the off stages i always had excuses. I think its human nature to put things off.

  7. I didn't really pursue it until my mid-thirties even though I've written for most of my life.

  8. Short answer: Yes.

    I was a senior when I took driver's ed with a class of mostly sophomores. I've always been a late starter. I'm more serious about my writing career now, but I still find myself finding excuses to put it on hold.

    Tossing It Out

  9. I know I've delayed. I think writers are often filled with self-doubt, especially when we don't make a lot of money from our writing. I'm trying to just focus on what I love doing: Writing.

  10. Funny, I was just thinking the same thing on the way home yesterday, what am I waiting for?

    PS didn't Pintos explode when struck from the rear? Just saying...
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. Awesome analogy. I gotta go rethink some things now!

  12. Good post, Diane.

    I delayed, in so far as writing the novels.I had another career that took a lot of time. I should have started earlier.

    Once I started writing, I've continued with the plan to publish. I've learned a lot along the way the past three years. Now, I just have to get the latest glitch in my health straightened out. Regardless, I'm still moving forward.
    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  13. Uh...yes. For about 30 years, but trying now to make up for lost time. Still, no regrets, as I had many wonderful children and raised them to adulthood. Another wedding on Thursday!

  14. Lee, no excuses!

    Jules, yes they did. Fortunately I was never hit from the rear.

    Sia, keep moving forward!

  15. In some ways, yes, I have. Been procrastinating or distracted in certain areas - no excuse, though. Time to get moving. Thanks for the nudge!

  16. Yes. I am often guilty of throwing obstacles in my own path. Sadly, sometimes I'm even aware of it and do it anyway. Not bright.

  17. Thanks for this message. Yeah, I do delay my writing - all the time - some of it can't be helped, but a lot could. Thanks again.

  18. I wish I'd gotten writing a lot earlier, but I can't change that. I never thought I had it in me until about two years ago or so. Since then, there's been no turning back.

  19. I've been delaying. I'm in a good place, but I've been stagnant. Some life changes have made all the difference with my progress, but someone told me the other day, "Don't let all the bullsh!t keep you from writing." And it's the truth, you know?

    You have a fantastic blog! Love your stuff. :)

  20. This is a good analogy. It's so easy to get off course.

  21. Great analogy and very timely as my niece is currently taking driving lessons and I'm worried sick about it but that's another story :)

    I think it's very easy to get that deer in the headlights look from writing because there is some much information and advice thrown at you. Once I started to focus on my stories and drown out all the "background noise" my writing really started to take off.

  22. at 47 I finally learned how to drive a stick should I start the book everyone tells me I should be writing too?

  23. Linda, we are our own worst enemies sometimes.

    Thanks, Janna!

    Liz, I sometimes wonder if I wasn't better off not knowing!

    Lynette, go for it!

  24. I'm too busy laughing at the thought of actually driving a Pinto!

    Driving a stick shift isn't fun in San Francisco, especially trying to park on a hill.

  25. VW van and Pinto? You bring back memories! This post hit me in the heart today. I was in gear for a few weeks but shifted to neutral these last few weeks. Time to step on the clutch and shift again regardless if their seems to be traffic jam in the way.

  26. Ooh, nicely done! You sucked me in then spun it beautifully at the end :) (I'm still relieved I didn't have to sit my test with a stick!)