Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.
Play • 24 min

Jared Leto is a somewhat polarizing guy for who-knows-what reason. He’s model-pretty, a vegan, an award-winning actor and a musician. And there’s this quote I (Carrie) read that struck a chord.

“When you commit to something that’s seemingly impossible,” he says, referring to ascents both metaphorical and literal, “and you’re pushing through things that are seemingly hostile, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we did that,’ that’s a great feeling. And a little bit of pain isn’t a bad thing.”
Jared Leto to Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt

A lot of us writers whine a lot about writing. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because we’re plumbing the deep emotional recesses in our brain? Is it because we are creating an entire pretend world?

I used to get super cranky about this because compared to being a firefighter or an emergency dispatcher or juggling eighteen jobs as a single parent, it felt to me like everyone was a little bit whiny.

Then I realized that It’s because being committed to something, to a craft, to something when you are never going to be perfect, where you’ll always have room to grow? It can play a bit of havoc on your emotional wellbeing. But that’s okay. It’s like Leto says, you want to commit to that impossible thing to get the payoff. You want to be all in. Not a dabbler in writing or in life.


Emalie Jacobs has some nice hints on her blog about how to do that, to be committed. They are basically:

  • Plan to write every day.
  • Stay committed.
  • Aim for a word count.
  • Plan early.
  • Find your people.

And all of this is so much of what the Write! Submit! Support! class that I teach at the Writing Barn is all about.

Back to Leto. Leto doesn’t dabble. He’s a method actor, a method singer, method artist and probably a method human. He commits wholeheartedly or he doesn’t commit at all. That’s true when he’s on stage singing or when he’s on the screen acting. He becomes.


Dabbling is the opposite of commitment. It’s an exploration. That can be good. But you don’t want to get so caught up in the explorations that you never focus.

“I don’t dabble,” he said in that Rolling Stone interview. “I dive in. 1,000 percent.”


Don’t dabble. Commit fully to living the writing life. Don’t let other things take priority over your dreams.


Proofread your poop.


In our random thought portion of the podcast this week, we talk about:

  1. Carrie giving up dabbling
  2. Emcee duties at the MDI YWCA’s Women of Distinction event
  3. Hyphens. Semicolons. Politicians of all sides failing to have copyeditors.
  4. How do we trust reporters and politicians with big decisions when they can’t proofread things.


The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


It's on Carrie's website. Have a great day! Play with dogs! 

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