Introduction (What does "shut up and write" mean?)
Writing is hard. At least, writing well is hard. The physical act of finger-waggling a few words into existence, on the other hand, has never been easier.
And yet, people who claim to like writing, who claim they are writers, often simply don't do it. So they try to fix this problem by going about it the long way 'round. They'll absorb everything they can on the subject of writing, read as many Top Ten Tips as they can, read biographies of the writers they most admire, caffeinate themselves under the guise of inspiration, and yet — they still can't manage to do it.
Eventually they find other writers like themselves, who know they want to write, that at some point in the past they did write, and have some memory of enjoying it, but they can't seem to do it now. Or at least, it's painful and slow now, but, somehow, it was easy back then. Or things aren't quite coming out right, but they did before. All of them have this problem, and none of them can quite work out how to fix it.
But they can tell a story. And together, they weave the tale known as Why We Can't Seem To Write Anymore. Which, on the surface of it, is an absolutely ridiculous story to tell, because the act of writing, of filling a blank page with words, has never been easier. Anyone can do it. In a notebook, on a phone, on a tablet. But they've surrounded themselves with so much information about writing, and so many preconceptions about how it's supposed to be an Experience, and how they can never quite manage to stay in the Zone, that the concept of just doing it is completely lost.
There's a lot to talk about in regards to writing. Of course there is, otherwise we wouldn't be here. It's important to read and analyze and discuss what makes a good story versus a bad one, to talk about process, to celebrate victories. But none of this, and this is important, none of this should stop you from writing.
You can learn and talk as much about storytelling as you like, but at the end of the day, if you don't shut up and do it, all that knowledge is for naught.
Shut up and write isn't a lecture so much as it is permission to let yourself free. The reason your blank pages are still blank is because you're so caught up on the concept that is Writing that you've let writing, lowercase-w writing, come to a halt. Stop worrying about your place in the whole historic world of Writing with all its Top Tens and feng shui desk arrangements and jot some words down.
Then, once you have something to work with, you're welcome to join us.
Who this community is for
Shut Up & Write is primarily a community for amateur writers who are already writing on at least a semi-regular basis. Some people come here to share their work and improve, others show up purely to hang out.
However, it's fair to say you won't have the best time here if:
- You are a professional writer. Here, every hour is amateur hour. You're more than welcome to stay, but chances are you'll get tired of repeating the same advice over and over again and/or wondering how on earth so many people could be so stupid.
- You haven't produced writing in a long time, or ever. You're also welcome to stay provided you don't complain about it. Be warned that this isn't really the place to find inspiration if you're truly stuck. You will probably get the community's name quoted at you if you whine too much.
That said, everyone is welcome to visit if they want to. So long as you have even the slightest interest in storytelling you'll probably find it an all right place to be.
We also don't discriminate against non-fiction or poetry or screenwriting or anything like that because, frankly, it's a bit silly. Writing is storytelling, and storytelling is communication. If your hobby involves communicating an idea, whether it's in words, film, or some other medium, chances are you'll find some common ground with us writer folk.