Archives,  instagram,  writing

gimme six hours or seven years

2 min read

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

arguably Abraham Lincoln

If I take that quote and apply the rule of three to find a direct proportion here, considering I’ve been learning about writing and “sharpening my ax” for 7 years, it would take 10.5 years to finish my novel. In other words, I will finish it by… Sep. 10, 2024.

Uhm… f.

Alright, let’s not be literal. Time is relative. Nor mathematical. There’s no logic in the craft. We don’t even know if Lincoln ever really said that. And I’m gonna finish my novel this year, no matter what, I just wanted to make a point.

Which is… While it IS important to sharpen the ax, it can’t be more important than chopping down the tree.

I’m telling you this because I lost track of how many books on writing I read (I only know now that it’s over 110 books). I thought I needed that to write. And I didn’t stop there, it became such a thing in my life that I write about it, even before I wrote my own novel. And I consume an insane amount of blog posts, videos, courses, and more books on writing. This means, in the end, that I’m not sharpening my ax anymore. Let’s be honest, I’m just geeking out in a rabbit hole on a topic that I’m extremely passionate about. In love, to be accurate.

There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you WRITE. Chop down the f tree.

So that’s my point: don’t wait. WRITE. We will NEVER be 100% ready or sharp enough to write anything. And the “best and perfect” novel according to all the “writing rules” and lessons and theories can easily turn out to be a complete piece of shit compared to an imperfect three-line poem that is brilliant simply because it’s humbly and honestly written.

So, read about the craft. Yea. It’s okay. Here’s a Top 5, if you need it:

• ON WRITING, by Stephen King
• WRITING DOWN THE BONES, by Natalie Goldberg
• STORY, by Robert McKee
• WRITING TOOLS, by Roy Peter Clark
• THE COMPLETE HANDBOOK OF NOVEL WRITING, by the editors of Writer’s Digest

But most importantly: WRITE. Don’t wait. CHOP. DOWN. THAT. TREE.

– João

■ Now tell me, when did you start writing? And where did you get the idea for your story?

↓ first seen on @beardbetweenthelines

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: