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Friday, September 17, 2010

John Scalzi Says "STFU" to People Who Say "I Don't Have Time to Write"

And you know what, Scalzi hits the nail on the head with this one:
This is why at this point in time I have really very little patience for people who say they want to write but then come up with all sorts of excuses as to why they don’t have the time. You know what, today is the day my friend Jay Lake goes into surgery to remove a huge chunk of his liver. After which he goes into chemo. For the third time in two years. Between chemo and everything else, he still does work for his day job. And when I last saw him, he was telling me about the novel he was just finishing up. Let me repeat that for you: Jay Lake has been fighting cancer and has had poison running through his system for two years, still does work for his day job and has written novels. So will you please just shut the fuck up about how hard it is for you to find the time and inspiration to write, and just do it or not.
The same logic also applies to "I don't have time to do my homework" and "I don't have time to eat healthy."  To the former, I have personal experience, being a teacher.  I've been tempted to bring all of my weekly work load with me every day I teach in hopes that someone will bring up that argument.  That way I can offload the 400 pages of theory I read every week, the reading I do in preparation for the days I teach, and the essays I have to read, grade, and so on, among other educational responsibilities.  Anyone who says they don't have the time to write (meaning that they don't write at all, not that they haven't a lot of time, but are still writing some) are either not all that interested in writing, or delusional, or both.

Like Mr. Scalzi said:  either do it or STFU.  If Jay Lake can do it, then so can you.

And if that's not inspiration enough, then please stop flooding the Interwebs with your cries for pity.

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  1. Your post title is a little...sensational. I thought his argument was fairly patient and well-argued. I certainly don't think he meant to say "STFU". More of a "put up or shut up".

  2. Jordan: His post is very reasonable, but he does actually says "STFU" in the post, specifically in the quote in my post (and elsewhere, I think). So, it's not sensational so much as a fair representation of what his argument is explicitly saying.