On Writing: Robert Louis Stevenson Never Quit

John T Jones, Ph.D.
 


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Robert Louis was born with the wrong middle names. One was Balfour which he promptly dumped. The other middle name was Lewis which he changed to Louis. He liked to be called RLS. That took care of the name problem.

He was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He never liked the winter climate in Scotland and spent a good deal of his life in the warm spots of the Pacific. His wife, Fanny, was a good sport and tagged along. Although trained as both an engineer (like his father) and in the law, he preferred to write. That’s what he did. He wasted all that education. Oh, well!

Here is the point of this story: RLS said that there was never a day in his life that he felt like getting out of bed. He had tuberculosis from childhood and continually suffered from the ailment. He said if he had stayed in bed, sick, that he would never have accomplished anything in his life. He said that nothing would have been done.

If RLS had decided to be sick instead of being a writer I would not be writing this article about him. You would be doing something other than reading it. See, RLS is still doing things.

RLS died at the age of 44 in Vailima in Samoa. The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage. Read about his and his writings at http://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Louis_Stevenson.

Imagine that you were sick everyday of your life. What would you do? Would you have the guts to pull yourself out of bed and go to work? I doubt that I would, but that is what RLS did everyday of his life.

We all have what are called hang-ups. We decide that we can not perform so we don’t. We say things like, “I’m not smart enough to do that. I don’t have enough money to do that. I’m too darned tired to do that. " Once we have done all that deciding, we are finished. Nothing gets done.

What about your dreams? What happens there? I moved to a town in Iowa in 1966 and decided that it would sure be nice to stick a McDonalds® in that town. I said to my brilliant self, “I don’t have the money. " A few years later I was talking to my banker and learned that the person who purchased a McDonalds® franchise and build the restaurant had no money at all. His thinking was different than my brilliant thinking. This is what he said to his wife, “I’m going over to the bank, Honey. I should be back in an hour or two. "

When he got back home his wife said, “They didn’t give you the money, did they?"

He answered, “No. They just gave me a line of credit to buy the franchise and build the place. "

So he got rich and I stayed poor and kicked myself in the pants every time I passed the restaurant.

A friend of mine moved into town because he had “bought" Iowa from one of the Mexican fast food chains. I thought, well he bought some blue sky. In a few years he had thirteen restaurants across the state. Money was available and he did own the sky.

Have you ever heard someone say that he or she was going to write a novel? I’ve written a number of novels so I know it is hard work.

The first draft of a novel is not difficult unless you are a talented writer. A good writer writes perfect copy and gets the first draft published. The rest of us write the first draft, throw it in the trashcan and then write the second draft. Then we edit and edit and edit until it looks like an agent might want to take a look at it.

Most people never write the first draft. If they would write a few pages everyday they would write the novel. But they never get started or quit before they start.

Hemingway use to write a page and then hang it on a line so that he could peruse it as needed. He was satisfied if he had one or two good pages each day. He edited as he went along.

He was one of those good writers. He lived up the road from where I live here in Idaho. The locals are afraid that someone might build a parking lot around his home and destroy the ambience of the area.

I said in another article that I try to get my brain working in the morning by sticking my finger in a dictionary or any other book that might be around. I don’t cheat. I close my eyes. I look down to see if my finger hit a word. If it did, I write a poem using the word as the subject.

I think I put my poem They in that article. If you are staring at your monitor and can’t write, try that trick. It might get you going.

Writer’s Block is a good excuse for not writing. It happened to me once. I think I mentioned this in one of my UFO articles. The book was called The Glass Pool. I wrote seven chapters and went brain dead.

Now let me tell you a secret: Writer’s block does not exist.

Did that help?

Probably not.

What does exist is a writer who doesn’t care to do more research to finish the book.

What does exist is a writer who thinks the book is awful and will bore everyone out of his tree.

What does exist is a writer who doesn’t want to publish the book because it is too controversial.

There are reasons to junk a project. Just make sure it is the right reason.

Many writers say to write a certain number of words everyday. I use to do this when writing a novel. I don’t do it now. If I decide to write another novel, I’m going up to Earnest Hemingway’s house and hang pages on his line.

John T. Jones, Ph. D. (tjbooks@hotmail.com, a retired VP of R&D for Lenox China, is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering, humor), poetry, etc. Former editor of Ceramic Industry Magazine, Jones is Executive Representative of International Wealth Success. He calls himself “Taylor Jones, the hack writer. "

More info: http://www.tjbooks.com

Business web site: http://www.bookfindhelp.com (IWS wealth-success books and kits and business newsletters / TopFlight flagpoles)

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