“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin
I could probably do an entire month of essays just based on quotes by Franklin. He was a prolific writer — what’s more, he was a professional writer. Old Ben didn’t just write things to elevate moral discussion or philosophy. No, he printed and hawked what he wrote to the public. Poor Richard’s Almanack was first published in December, 1732 and kept going until the 1758 edition. So, for twenty-five years, Franklin was self-publishing and making a living from it, with print runs of up to 10,000 copies per year. Not bad for most authors, even today.
It’s not bad advice — one of the reasons Old Ben keeps getting quoted. It’s a call to get off one’s ass and “do” — whether that doing is telling the world what you know and dream or doing something that will inspire others. We’re writers, so we live mostly in the first category, and that’s not a bad place to be. The world would be a poorer place without ideas to inspire folks, to challenge their beliefs, to offer comfort when life is cold and cruel. We should not elevate what we do too much, but I have long held that if what I write makes one person feel better — even if that person is me — then that is a worthwhile thing.
We’re in the midst of what I believe to be the hardest stretch of NaNoWriMo. Next week, we’ll be pushing up against a holiday and facing a looming deadline that has suddenly gotten very close. Less than two weeks from today, we’ll be in December. Now, though, we’re in the slog, trying to get through to our writing goal or catching up when things haven’t been going well. Some of us aren’t going to catch up and we’ll talk about that more in the days ahead. For now, though, let us seize today. As Poor Richard wrote, “What you would seem to be, be really.”
We are WriMos. We are writers. Today, regardless of word count or deadlines, let’s write.
Word Count Goal: 30,006