Friday, November 30, 2012

Could You Stop Writing?

Could You Stop Writing?
By Brad R. Cook

I’m serious, can you stop?

Before any big lottery, like the 550 Million Jackpot this week, everyone starts speculating, what would you do with all that money – it really is the best part of the lottery. First comes the obligatory, “I’m quitting my job.” That’s followed by the cars, boats, and antique books that we’d buy, (is that just me?) Then start the big dreams, putting colonies on the moon, buying an island, or finally building that castle I’ve always wanted.

But then I was asked if I would stop writing… I hadn’t thought of that. Sure with my new found wealth I could lie on an Ibiza beach or hang out in a Scottish pub for a few years. Life would be easy for awhile, but even I have to admit, after five minutes I’d be contemplating plot lines, characters, and looking around at how an Atlantian hit squad would assault that beach. That’s just who I am.

I’ve heard this challenge in workshops and from other writers. It’s like a sick taunt. “Go ahead and try to stop, you addict.” But worst, is that it’s true. First, the typing chills come, when your fingers start searching for the keys.  Then the errant plot bunnies scamper around your feet, and your mind starts creating conversations for everyone around you. If not satiated, the symptoms get worse – napkins will no longer be for wiping, but become the notepads for novel ideas that may never see the light of day. Then at its height…you start blogging. Say it isn’t so, give in to the addiction, and let the words flow… *exhales*

Writers write.
Painters paint,
Sculptors sculpt,
Programmers program,
And Baristas…make it all possible.
It’s who we are and we can’t deny it – or the words will stalk you.

By the way, if I had won, I would have paid off the big publishers to produce all my novels, and then paid people to buy them. I’d then finance the movie, toy lines, video games, and graphic novels. I’d be George Lucas, and then I’d sell it all and make even more money…maniacal laugh.

My challenge to you is this – don’t stop writing!
Never stop creating, never stop reaching, and never give up!

Find new ways of writing. It’s good practice for what you really want to write.
Try a script for a play or movie, craft a poem, pen a short story about what’s outside your window, whip up some fanfic, or just write a scene in a completely different genre.

One could call these writing exercises, but, it’s really about expanding your horizons, challenging your brain, and improving your craft.

I suppose my answer to the title question is no, I can’t stop. Words swirl in my head, along with character traits, woven plot lines, grammar rules, and scenes for future novels. We are storytellers, bards of the most creative degree, who twist language into art and toy with the emotions of the reader. We do this not out of some maniacal god-complex, but as a natural response to being creative.  Art is emotion, and words are art. If a picture is worth 1000 words, my books are worth 75 to 100 pictures.

Accept who you are, embrace the obsession, hoard all the words you can, and let the stories flow. We’re writers. To deny the words is to stop breathing or eating. It could possibly, or not really, cause of cancer, but don’t quote me on that.

As for the lottery – the odds might be against you but somebody always wins… until they lose it all a few years later.

Let us know in the comments what you would do if you were a super rich writer.


Looking for a last minute gift idea – consider one of these two books!

Zero Time by T.W. Fendley

St. Louis Reflections an Anthology by St. Louis Writers Guild in honor of its 90th Anniversary


Both are available through online retailers or off line at Left Bank Books in the Central West End.


Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook


  1. LOVE what you'd have done if you won the big one - sounds perfect to me!

    I'd keep writing, of course, but would do away with deadlines and hire a publicist. And an assistant. And maybe move to Aruba.

  2. I'd never stop writing. I don't think I could if I wanted to. But I would quit my day job if I won that big of a jackpot.

  3. I would write more. I would also read more. And with that much bank I would probably buy a small printing company and equipt it to print books and comics.
    I would also have a kick ass game room and home theater.
    The End ;D

  4. Taking early retirement was kind of like winning the lottery, giving me time to actually write ZERO TIME after years of thinking about it. Thanks for the mention (a nice surprise).

    Like you, I would use some of the lottery money to boost book sales and get out of the marketing rat race so I could write more. I'd also build a house off the grid and help my kids & family.