How do you eat an elephant? by Matthew H. Jones
People who know me know that I like one stupid joke. I have no children that I am aware of. However, this dumb metaphor has so much Dad Joke energy that I have somehow managed to spontaneously generate kids to groan at this nonsense. Whenever there’s a job that’s too big for one person, I break out this chestnut and I’ll watch people’s eyes roll. They’ll ask me: ‘How am I supposed to do that?” I’ll counter with “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It’s the perfect combination of technically being a joke but also not being at all funny. And, it also offers unsolicited wisdom. Every time I say it, I can almost see my teenage daughter mock-gagging with disgust. My fictional daughter is really a good kid; she’s just at a weird age. I say that joke to embarrass my fake daughter in front of her friends. And, I say that joke because I believe it to be true. I believe it’s especially useful in terms of writing.
Writing is hard, and it’s hard because it’s never been easier to just do something else. Thinking is a part of writing and because of that, people confuse the thinking that you do all the time for writing. Your brain doesn’t easily discern between thought and action. It knows the difference between thinking about food and actually eating. However, you can make yourself sick by believing it. As teens, guys’ brains left them sticky messes in their beds because it didn’t know the difference between real sex and a dream. If that’s true, thinking about a story and writing it would definitely confuse your brain. You’ll need to train yourself.
In my first book in the Matty Books Good series, I established that writing is exploring ideas. In the second book in this series Doing the Work, I explore the true secret sauce of writing. Hint: It’s not the idea. The secret sauce of good writing is the work you put into the random ideas you have. Do the work and you’ll be a writer. Writing is writing, and writers write. If you dick around, that’s not doing the work. Reading also isn’t doing the work, but it’s adjacent, I guess. Since you’re already reading, read an excerpt from Matty Books Good: Doing the Work.
“If you want to do anything, do it once. The next day, you’ll wake and remember that it was possible to do it the day prior. On that next day, choose to do it again. Rinse and repeat this action for days, for weeks, for months. Find a place for this new aspect of yourself in your life: early in the morning before the kids wake up, late at night after you get home from work. Do it instead of stalking your ex on Instagram. Do it instead of fighting with nine-year-olds on the internet. Do it instead of masturbating for the seventh time today. (if you’re going for some sort of record, you’ll have to beat sixteen according to Yahoo Answers.)”
Doing the Work is available on Amazon and is cheaper than a cup of coffee. It’s funny. It’s weird. It’s short. And, it might help you out. There is little reason to not buy the book. Check it out: