Daily Archives: July 20, 2010

Seven Writing Sins: Sloth

When I was a kid, we lived close enough to the San Diego Zoo to visit it frequently with our family and our schools.  One of my favorite monkeys was the baby marmoset monkeys.  It might have been because we got to hold these tiny, big eyed creatures.  Or maybe it was because they were so small that my seven year old hands provided shelter for them.

Then we moved.  Minnesota has two zoos.  None boasts exotic animals in quite the same way that San Diego did.  My new zoo love turned toward the sloth.

These slow moving creatures remained virtually motionless in their pens.  They didn’t amble so much as they inched.  Their only momentum seemed to be a result of gravity rather than a personal attempt on their behalf.  But I loved them none-the-less.  Not quite as much as marmosets, but a close second.

Marmosets are quick and agile.  Sloths are the exact opposite.

I’m sure it goes without saying that the slothful writer will get nothing done.  Slow and sluggish wannabes.  Muse writers.  One-day authors. 

Slothfulness is more than a sin, it’s a negative writing habit.

Note to self:

  • Books do not write themselves.  Authors must do the dirty work.
  • Muses do not write books.  Authors do.
  • Dreams do not write books.  Authors type them.
  • Hope does not write books.  Nor does faith or desire.

The only thing that can actually get words onto paper in a cohesive format is an author.  Writers must write, even when the muse is absent.  They must push through when rejections crush their dreams.  They must hone, not hope. 

They simply cannot wait for someone else to write the book they feel inside.  They must do this themselves.  It is a long and hard process and one better suited to a marmoset than a sloth.

What tactics work to keep you motivated with your writing?  Do you write every day or only when you feel like it?  What happens when your inner sloth rears its head?