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Nut In The Shell:
By Keith Giles


Youíd be surprised how many writers I know who donít really write.

I mean, how can you call yourself a WriterÖif youíre not really writing anything?

Do they mean they "like" to write? Perhaps, but, if so, then why wouldnít that person actually write something?

Do they mean they "know how" to write? Again, if thatís the case, then show us.

The same can be said for an artist who calls themselves by that name, but never actually produces any real "art."

I know quite a few artists with their very own websites who donít really, actually, work on anything.

The question then becomes, ďAre you really a writer or an artist, if you donít actually create anything?Ē

I would say that the answer is, "No. Youíre not."

Then, what are you?

A pretender.

Or, a liar.

Writers, write.

They write about how they feel. They write down bits of dialog they hear in a restaurant. They write lists of things they want to write about when they get more time to write and then they write some more.

Thatís what writers do.

So, what are your excuses for not writing or drawing?

No budget?

You can create 50 full-color ashcans on your home computer and print them at Kinkoís for around $100.

No time?

Turn off American Idol and unplug your telephone and get to work.

No experience?

You think Iíve ever done this before?

The truth is, you pretty much have no real excuse for not sitting down to do what it is you say you really want to do.

So, donít call yourself a writer, unless youíre actually writing something, and donít call yourself an artist if youíre not sitting down at least once a week to actually draw something.

Article continued below advertisement

These are the ground rules.

Iíd suggest that writers start keeping a daily journal of some kind. Take ten minutes each day to type out whatís going on with your life, at your work station on a break. Write about whatís on your mind, what youíd rather be doing, or whatever, Maybe try to sit down and write out on notebook paper a scene or a bit of dialog, each day.

Iím currently writing two mini-series and two long-form graphic novel projects.

Do you think I write all of them at once?

Of course not.

I take a little time each night and write for an hour on one of the four at hand. I take it all in bite-sized chunks and hammer out what needs to get done.

And, in case you have some illusions that Iím a wealthy, self-employed freelance writer, let me clue you in.

I work an nine hour a day job in a corporate environment, playing with spreadsheets and spewing out reports and analysis and creating purchase orders and all kinds of other monotonous garbage all day long.

When I get home I have my wife and two small boys to spend time with.

This is what keeps me sane.

After the boys are in bed and my wife and I have had time to sit down with a cup of coffee and talk about our day together, I pull out the laptop and start writing.

Most of the time, I donít even get started until after nine or ten oíclock at night. But, I write for at least an hour and I donít stop until Iím finished with the scene in front of me.

Last month I had to write two different short comic scripts for Prophecy Magazine. Each one was around seven pages long. I also had to get started on a long-form graphic novel project for an artist in Japan so he could at least have enough of a script to keep him busy while I flew out of town for a week.

I hammered out ten pages and shot them off in an email to him the night before. (It helped that I had already written the entire outline for the plot down with notes on various characters and specific scenes in my notebook the week before, of course).

You can write in small doses if thatís all you can squeeze into your schedule. Whatever it takes, do it.

But, remember, a little bit of writing is better than not writing at all.

Class dismissed.

*Let me take a moment and plug someone elseís column dealing with procrastination.

Colleen Doran, a fellow columnist over at Slushfactory.com, recently wrote an incredible article on the subject.

You should really go read this now since Colleen knows a lot more than I do and sheís much more experienced than I:
Click here to read it!

Keith Giles is one of the world's greatest enigmas. Ruggedly handsome, and yet surprisingly gentle and compassionate with small animals, Keith actually has a very weak grasp of reality and often talks to himself in the bathroom mirror. He's currently writing his own original sci-fi novels and putting together a few comic books of his own in his spare time. You can take a peek at http://www.plasticanimal.com.

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