I was struggling with rewriting my second novel. Sometimes it helps to get some inspiration from another writer. Jason Segel just published his second novel (with Kirsten Miller), Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic. I’m reading the first book in the series, Nightmares! I’m really enjoying his writing—creepy and fun at the same time.
Jason was in town to talk about his new book. That sounded like just the thing I needed! So we headed out to the New Roads School in Santa Monica. Jason was interviewed by Rico Gagliano. Jason was funny, honest and inspiring. He wrote these books to help kids face their fears, and shared stories from his own life when he was scared.
During the Q&A, I said, “I’m a writer too.”
“That’s great,” he said.
“Do you have any tips,” I asked, “for what to do when the last thing you want to do is write?”
Here’s what Jason said:
I was unemployed from twenty-one to twenty-five… And I decided the only way I was going to make it was to write. And it was really hard for me sometimes because it wasn’t something I was totally interested in. But I made a deal with myself that I was going to sit in front of the computer three hours a day. No matter what. And if nothing happened, then that’s fine. My job was to sit there. And even if I wrote nothing good in a day, I still felt I had done my job. It made me feel like what I was doing was real, you know? And that made me feel good, that I was really trying something. Just sit in front of that computer. Make a time for yourself. Maybe it’s an hour a day. Maybe you write and maybe you don’t. But eventually you’re going to get bored and start writing.
What great advice! It’s natural that some days we won’t want to write. As long as we keep our commitment to ourselves and write for a certain amount of time each day, maybe an hour, maybe six hours (if you’re behind like I usually am), or maybe even fifteen minutes. If nothing good comes out, it’s OK. We all have bad days. Just sit there, even if you don’t feel like it, because “eventually you’re going to get bored and start writing.”
I’m grateful that he took me seriously, because sometimes grown-ups treat kids like “kids.” What great advice! Thank you, Jason!
Here’s a link to Jason’s and Kristen’s new book. I got a signed copy that I can’t wait to read!
Teen fantasy novelist and TEDx speaker. I love nature, books, movies, origami, singing, cooking, knitting, roller coasters, dogs, and a lot of other things.
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