Writing By Comet-Light: The Lie Of The Right Time

The people in 1070 realize it’s finally time to write that strawpunk bubonic plague epic.

Here is a pervasive myth of our era: I’ll start when it’s the right time.

When I can concentrate. When I feel creative. When I can devote my undivided attention to it.

And “the right time” goes on to encompass a set of demands so far-reaching and esoteric that it could be Slayer’s tour rider. When it’s Sunday. When the moon’s full. When I have a bowl of M&Ms and two bottles of Cristal and 100 white goats for sacrifice.

But the fact of existence is that the perfect time never comes along. Ever. I’ve been on the look out for a perfect time for more than thirty fucking years and I haven’t seen one yet. Maybe they only come along at great intervals, like Halley’s Comet.

And, guaranteed, there’s someone out there waiting for the next appearance of that flaming sky ball to start writing something. See you in 2061, asshole. Rest assured we’re not waiting with bated breath for whatever masterpiece you think you’ll shit out by the light of a comet.

There will never be a right time to start anything. So you might as well get off your ass and do it now.

What’s the rush, you say. I have time. What’s the hurry?

The hurry is that the reaper is on you trail, motherfucker. And you don’t know how close it is.

A little melodramatic, but it’s true. There might not be time tomorrow. Okay, it might not be death that slows you down*, but there’s always something else. Social gatherings. Jobs. Families. The siren song of bad television. The inertia of trying to start something new. 

I fall prey to this as much as anyone. For years, I put off writing because there wasn’t time. I was busy: studying, moving, doing thesis work, learning to fight, learning to be in a relationship, learning what happens when you overwork and burn out. I couldn’t possibly add another thing to that pile.

And maybe I was right. But I know that I wouldn’t have burned out so hot and so fast if I’d made time—even a little; an hour a week, maybe—to work on something I loved as much as fiction writing.

If you wait around for the perfect time, you’ll grow old and die without doing anything. And I’m not even talking about climbing mountains or figuring out how to use monkey blood to power your robot army. This is writing. You start writing by opening up to a new page and putting words on it. Words that you know. As far as barriers to entry go, it’s only marginally higher than putting on your fucking socks. And you have to do that twice.

After getting started, of course, things change. You have to work at doing better. At doing it right. And that’s a whole other bucket of snakes. But realizing that you can start whenever you want is a pretty damn big snake on it’s own.

There is no right time. There is only the time that you make.

*Especially if the assassins fail again.

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One thought on “Writing By Comet-Light: The Lie Of The Right Time

  1. wull … how can i possibly disagree with you when i fucking agree with you? this really pisses me off. it doesn’t matter because i decided to weigh in with a little more detail anyway, considering the fact that, if there are people out there who say they can’t find time to write then, i’d say they aren’t really writers so maybe it doesn’t really matter if you have to tell them they have to find the time to write? whoops … i’m not implying that what you wrote about doesn’t matter! of course it does and like i said, “I fucking agree with you!”

    The reason i bring this up is …. i feel like a different animal when it comes to finding time to write because i’d write every fucking minute of every day if i could and since i don’t have to work now … that’s pretty much what i do all day and well into the night. at times, i’m not writing per se but, my notebook is out and i’m aware that my pen is in my pocket and i’m reading shit that i wrote in that little book and mostly i’m saying, ”Jesus, what a bunch of crap!”

    but you know … even that can be a learning experience OR when things are right … there might be a sentence or some words that sound good together or whatever at which time you reach in grab the pen (pilot G2 10) and watch with pleasure as your hand traces letters across the page of your little notebook and you start to see the thoughts that were in your mind on the paper in front of you. God .. what a great feeling. unfortunately, you’ll look at it ten minutes and you’ll say, “What a bunch of crap.” but it doesn’t matter.

    but every once in a while you DO find a little gem in that little book and you actually end up writing something that you really like. (in most cases i say to myself, “how in the shit did i do that?” or, “did i write that?) and you might experience While you’re waiting for the nurse to come in any second to take your blood pressure.

    THE POINT IS ……. if you don’t have the absolute craving for .. an insatiable hunger for … writing then, maybe you ought to go to the Vo Tech and learn to be auto mechanic or something. telling a person who isn’t writing that they should be trying to find time to write is like trying to tell a 7th grade student that they need to grow up in order to be an active participant in the real world.

    yeah right.

    wull .. i love your writing and i find you very entertaining while at the same time you seem to tackle some fucking cool shit and i really enjoy your jagged edge because there are a lot of things out there that really piss me off too. so fire away person … THE END …… ks

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