if you can’t

Don't Do It

I like that quote.

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, that may surprise you. Once a week, I go out of my way to post something meant to encourage other writers, and that quote doesn’t sound particularly encouraging. (Not at first glance, anyway.)

“Why, Dex?” you ask. “Why rub my nose in it? You know there are days when I feel like I can’t write! For crying out loud, you’ve admitted right here in your own words that you have days like that, too. Vye, back me up here.”

Fair enough. And if I were saying the days when we feel like we can’t write should guide our efforts, you’d be right to call me on the carpet. But that’s not what I’m saying. Not at all.

You can’t jump off a building and soar through the air like Superman. You can’t plan your finances based on the assumption that you’re going to win the lottery. You can’t drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without puking violently. You. Can. Not.

But you can write.

Listen, if those feelings of inadequacy we feel from time to time were real, if the hours you spend pounding on the keyboard were truly wasted time, then you’d be attempting something you simply cannot do. If that were the case, I’d tell you to stop. What’s the point in beating your head against a brick wall? When I hear that yet another idiot is planning to take the milk challenge, I just shake my head and hope they secretly like throwing up. But writing’s not like that.

If you want to write, if it’s something you feel a deep passion for, then you can. Okay, so you may not be able to write at the level of Faulkner or Tolkien, but doesn’t mean you can’t write. (It also doesn’t mean you won’t one day write at that level.)

What you really need to stop doing is telling yourself you can’t. If that were true, you’d be wasting your time with every keystroke. As it is, each and every word produced makes you a better writer so long as you’re willing to continue to learn, develop and grow, and so long as the passion that fuels your desire to write keeps burning.

If you can’t do something, don’t do it. That’s common sense, folks. But if you can do something, especially something worth doing, you should.

You can write. Get to it.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

4 Responses to if you can’t

  1. P. C. Zick says:

    Dex, this is such a relevant post for all of us writers. I believe those of us who keep writing will win. I always remember what it felt like when I finished my last novel. I was satisfied with what I wrote and that’s the best sort of success. Glad to have found you!


    • dex says:

      Thank you! Almost without fail, my ‘on writing’ posts are written to myself. I think of the things I struggle with, and then I try to talk myself into overcoming them. I’m always happy to hear those posts help someone else, too! 🙂


  2. This is how I roll. Good, inspiring post, Dex.

    P.S. So glad I don’t drink milk. ;0)


    • dex says:

      Yeah, the milk challenge. So stupid. I had friends try it in college. Everyone one of them got an intense intestinal workout for their efforts. Me? I loath throwing up. I passed on that particular experience.

      Thanks for the comment, and for reading. 🙂


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