I have a burr under my saddle, and I can’t let it go. It’s been irritating me for some time and I have to address it. See up there in the title? Yeah, that’s a major pet peeve of mine, and my hackles are up.
There are so many ways that lazy writers operate it makes me sad. I’m an ‘old school’ person; I think the person should put in their work. There’s a reason why even some of the best writers early works were rejected, because it wasn’t very good writing! Very few of us can publish a first draft of anything! It takes time and a lot of effort to come up with an original work, whether it is a best seller or not.
There are common ailments that every writer faces: solitude, procrastination, time management, idea constipation or diarrhea, verbal writing, and a tendency to have a poor diet. We learn to work through these things or they will rule over us.
- Solitude Writing is a lonely occupation. The actual act of writing is singular. It’s just you and the computer – or pen and paper. The ABC principle doesn’t involve anyone but you – apply butt to chair. Is it any wonder we make up complete imaginary worlds with imaginary friends?
- Procrastination Everyone deals with this on some level, some have mastered it. Some have excelled it to a near art form. Here’s the problem: the real world operates on a schedule and creativity doesn’t. Bohemian time is not an actual time frame. The real writing world operates on deadlines and schedules. Either get with the program or get off the train.
- Time Management Closely related to Point 2, but not the same thing at all. Time management can be an elusive little bugger, or it can become a “ginormous” monster. We are all given the same 24 hours in a day. Some of us have multiple hats we have to wear, multiple responsibilities. Ironically, it’s often the busiest people who manage to accomplish their dreams, not the lazy slackers that just waste their time on frivolous things like watching Jersey Shore. I think ten brain cells just died in mentioning it!
- Idea constipation OK, that may be crude but here’s a simple translation: writer’s block . Idea constipation-I don’t get it, never have. Seriously if you are a writer, then you have an abundance of ideas. There may be times that it’s difficult to pinpoint an idea into a concept that is workable, but they swirl around in there like leaves in a tornado! Then you pluck one from midair, examine it, scrutinize it and decide to keep or toss. Not every idea is gold!
- Idea Diarrhea EWWWWW! Yes it’s ugly, it’s messy and it’s disgusting! When the writer thinks every one of their ideas is gold and every single word they put down is platinum. Ideas gush faster than they can get to their desk. Ideas that stink! Ideas that should be kept behind closed doors where the rest of the world doesn’t’ have to see or read. A wardrobe and hair style change from the beginning of the scene standing on a porch between knocking on the door and the man opening the door left a stench I still haven’t recovered from! Come on people, take some Pepto or something, please!
- Verbal Writing Remember back in high school, the guys talking about “it” weren’t the ones doing “it”? Yeah same principle different “it”. Have you ever noticed the more time aspiring writers spend talking about writing the less they are actually writing? Yeah, I don’t share every single thing I write. I don’t talk constantly about the story I’m “going” to write. Why? Because I’m writing! I don’t have time to give you a play-by-play, and I don’t have time to constantly tell you the latest piece of gold I wrote. Quite frankly, I have to let it sit, simmer for a bit before I review and then I often rewrite it, refining, shaping and sculpting it into something more, that is more akin to a finely carved gold statue.
- Poor diet I’m working on this one! There are days when I am in the zone that I forget to eat until dinner time and don’t drink enough fluids. I don’t smoke, if I did I might remember to get up and get food once in a while. You’d think that by not eating I would lose some weight but it’s quite the opposite. Eating one meal a day is the surest way to set the fat cells into total lock down—and when I do eat, I am ravenous and can easily eat portions that are far too large. I try to make healthy choices. I’m not just sitting and munching on Oreos, or Pringle’s. NO, I have real food in a well stocked fridge, for a planned menu that I frequently ignore because I forget to eat during the day. At least when I go to the YMCA I come home a bit hungry so it helps keep me on a better schedule. What can I say? I’m a work in progress.
Then there are habits of some truly lazy writers. These are the things that really set my teeth on edge.
- Poor grammar Really, there isn’t much excuse for this. I have been guilty of misspelled words; thank God for spell check! My typing can get pretty bad when I’m on a roll. Basic grammar is an essential part of communication. I hated diagramming sentences and conjugating verbs in class but it was an essential part of learning to communicate, and here’s the key – effectively.
- Poor punctuation *facepalm* Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is a must read! Writing a book is not texting on your phone to your teens! Seriously inorder to write effectively you need both good grammar and punctuation. Other people need to understand your thoughts!
- Pirating OH! Yes I went there! Yes, I opened the big ugly can of worms! There are so many aspects of pirating, I could write a weekly series on this for months! I will address a few that are at the forefront of my mind.
- Borrowing – taking someone else’s work and claiming them as your own. This can be lack of annotations, lack of references, or simply a lack of giving credit where credit is due. I often give quotes; sometimes I reference another’s work. I also have mentioned the person who I took the idea from. Borrowing material from someone and not giving them credit is sloppy laziness at its worst.
- Informal Interview – if you are going to pick someone’s brain let them know. If you are interrogating them about a topic for the purpose of using the information gained for your own work, they better know that’s what you are doing. I’m just blunt, it puts some people off, while others just laugh. I say, “Hey can I pick your brain? Can I get your thoughts on. . .? I may use that as a quote. Can I interview you?” See how simple that is? There’s a chance they will say no, but most people are more than willing to share their knowledge.
- Cut & Paste – DO NOT take a private conversation and cut and paste someone’s answers into a document, then claim it as your own! “It’s unethical to take a conversation and just do a cut & paste and pass it off as your own ideas.” Raymond Frazee
Then the final line is, of course, plagiarizing. Beware of fellow writers that would do the above offenses because it is inevitable that eventually they will have no problem crossing this final line, stealing your intellectual property as their own.
I hate lazy writers! I think I will go do some writing exercises to flex my creative abilities to confound their weak little minds and perplex their frail malnourished bodies.
Yeah, the good writers should have no problem taking over the world! Smart writers also have a CYA file of everything.
*whispers – EVERYTHING!* Just keep that in mind before you even think about playing the lazy writer roulette.
For all the good writers – write on my friends, write on!