How to Make A Writing Decision

For the longest time, I thought a writing decision required thought and research. And I’m sure this is true for many people. But recently a writer I’ve met recently said she’d “decided” to write a book, and although I’m sure the story behind the statement was more complex, she said it so flippantly I had to reevaluate my prior notions.

One big writing decision we all try to make is to write often, even every day. Some of us make word counts: some count in hours or paragraphs.

Another, bigger decision is to write more than a stream: to write a blog post, an essay, a book.

Finally, there’s that last decision: to share the work. To click “publish” or to send that excerpt to a publisher (in the case of this writer, to sell her agent on the idea).

I think those are the three major decisions a writer has to make — it’s unavoidable, and underneathe them all is one persistent purpose: to go on, to continue to be a writer. Because it’s easy to stop being a writer and regress to being just another thinker, which is okay too. But I think adding a layer of writer to your human experience enhances it on a level provided by nothing else.

So, as I was saying, I used to think these three decisions took a lot of effort and preparation, emphasis on the “pre” in “preparation.” Action before the moment you make the decision. They are important — shouldn’t you ruminate beforehand?

But it occurs to me I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life in the “pre” section of all three decisions. I’ve been a thinker that identifies as a writer for at least 20 years, and have only just to enter the world of “writer” in the past 6 months. Just a half year — compared to twenty!

Take this blog post for example. I was tempted to map it out. Brainstorm. Be absolutely sure what I was writing about before I started to type. Make sure it was worth reading. All this despite my earlier decision that the point of this blog is not guaranteed quality but rather constant expression. Why was I contradicting myself?

So I typed “medium.com” and clicked “Write a Story.” I’d had this idea in mind for four days. I’d been thinking about it — a “thinker.” It had swum in my head for long enough. If I wasn’t in a state to outline, which I rarely do for my blog posts anyway, then why not simply write directly into the online editor?

What is my final point? Maybe it is more liberating to simple “decide” to do something. Ever since I “decided” I’d write a collection of essays, I’ve written 3 and now have an outline for a 4th. It’s happening. And that’s because something clicked inside me. I finally believed I had it in me to provide the world my voice.

I decided.