Writing vacation — my week with the Willits

I met some new people on my writing vacation, the Willits. I didn’t much care for them.

I’d set myself up to have five glorious days unencumbered by client responsibilities. Time to make some serious headway on a personal project. And then I met the Willits. Annoying as all get-out.

Every time I sat down to write, one or more of them would appear:

Will it be any good?
Will it make you a laughingstock?

and the worst Willit of all:

Will it sell?

Plenty of time to answer all of those questions after the first draft. Yes, I knew enough to remind myself of that every time they popped in. Still, having to swat away “will it” questions every time you write a sentence…it’s hard to keep your focus. And the last question—I mean, any rational analysis of the publishing industry would tell you the answer to that is no. But I’m still gonna write, dammit.

I told each Willit in the strongest possible terms that none of them mattered right now. Right now, my job is just to write. They still came back. And brought their relatives.

Writing vacation surprise!

writing vacation
No Willits (2017), fine-line marker on hotel note pad

If you haven’t already met the Willits, I hope you never do. They’re a bunch of nosy bastards. But they surprised me when they showed up, because my writing life is mostly Willit-free.

When I blog every day, I open up my browser, find the appropriate web page, and most often words fall out of my fingers. Occasionally they’re good words, more often they’re merely acceptable. But I write them anyway. If people get some value out of the blog, that’s great. Will it move people?…Actually, I don’t worry a whole lot about that.

You might imagine the Willits would show up when I write for my clients:

Will it be acceptable?

But I don’t worry about that either. Because I know—and, most importantly, my clients know—that it’s a first draft. And first drafts are for experimenting, for pushing the proverbial envelope. For failing, even.

No harm, no foul; no Willits.

Of course, the writing I do for my clients isn’t personal, not to me. My blogging gets personal occasionally and, now that I think of it, I have seen a few Willits in my peripheral vision when I write pieces like this.

But I wasn’t prepared to host the Willit Family Reunion during my writing vacation this week—four generations, setting up picnic tables and volleyball nets all over my lawn. They had a blast. Me, not so much.

Next time I’ll be prepared. I’m making some lawn signs.


Want to communicate more courageously? Click here to get my e-book Do It Anyway: Tips for Courageous Writing

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