The difference between writers and dreamers

If I only had a nickle for every time someone told me they had a great book idea- the one they’re going to write when the kids move out or when they retire or whenever they finally have the time. I sympathize with this. I believe that most people probably do have at least one great story waiting to be told.

It’s the telling of it that makes a difference- and I don’t just mean whether they can tell it well, though that certainly matters. I mean whether they ever sit down and write it. You can go your whole life with a super story in your head. What differentiates writers from everyone else is we write it down.

I know it seems like I just stated the obvious, but I really do think it’s important to remember. I am forever having ideas as I fall asleep and I have internal arguments with myself to justify not getting up to write them down. It’s late, I think. I’ll remember it in the morning. And when I’m lucky and I do remember in the morning, then I get caught up with other things. I have about a 24 hour window. After that, it’s gone.

For every story I have written down, there’s another one I lost by not taking that short moment to make a note of it. And although I can’t remember it, I’m certain it was brilliant.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year (and even if you’re not) think of this month as the one where you write it all down- every story idea you have. Even if you don’t have time to follow the thread just then, take notes for later.  Don’t let those brilliant ideas get lost.

Be a writer!


9 thoughts on “The difference between writers and dreamers

  1. I am right there with you. I have so many stories that came to me as I was drifting off to sleep and I said to myself, “I really should get up and write this down…” only to then convince myself that the idea was so good there would be no way I’d forget it by the morning. Then, when I get up… nothing is left except for the feeling that I had this wonderful idea the night before.

  2. I usually write a quick note with the different ideas I have for that particular story. I have folder just for that!!

  3. I hated NaNoWriMo with a fiery passion, and hated the dreck that came out of the experience. I’ve never wanted to try to edit it, because in the end I found it was like coming out of a bad relationship. However, I’m really glad NaNoWriMo exists, and I support it.
    I wrote a book under a pen name. It was a bad experience, mostly the attempts at promoting it. I found that trying to be a professional writer was taking the joy out of writing, so I stopped doing it. These days I write a lot, and I find it healing, the way I did before.

    • i think if you hated nano, you were doing it wrong! be a nanorebel- use the month as a way to make writing a priority in whatever way works best for you. if stressing about word counts ends up making you write drivel, ignore the word count. edit as you go, work on something you already started. one size does not fit all. make it your own.

  4. Good reminder, Katie. To actually write sets most of us apart–not in a better or worse way, just as a subset. It’s like that old question, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” All hands fly up. “Who’s willing to do …this… and that… and the other…?” Hands disappear.

    Nice article.

  5. I have fallen into this same trap on so many different occasions – I’ll just write it down tomorrow, when I have more time. Sometimes, I forget what I wanted to write. Other times, I suspect that I forgot to even think about writing in the first place. It’s amazing how many times I have written down the tidbits of a story, feeling that there was nothing to it, only to have it manifest itself into a well-defined story. The more amazing thing is that many times, the original story idea and the one that gets published are nowhere even similar to each other 😉 Great reminder, thanks for sharing!

  6. My best stories come when I am talking out loud to myself. Crazy? Perhaps. Entertaining? Absolutely! If I took the time to write the dialog, I would miss the value of living in the moment. 😉

  7. That darn fish, always swimming too fast to catch. I’m not doing NaNo but writing is a good idea every month, every day.

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