Wanted: Drill Instructor

Sometimes I wish I had a writing drill instructor—someone who whips new novelists into shape. I want that guy to come into my writing barracks and kick me in my lazy writing—self.

I make all sorts of excuses for why I’m not writing—you probably do too. I need to walk the dogs. I’m networking on Facebook or Twitter. My chair is uncomfortable. I wrote yesterday. I deserve a break.

So, yeah, it’s easy for me to fantasize about someone who will make me be good. I imagine the drill instructor moving into my personal space, steel gray eyes boring into mine, a sneer on his lips.

“You call yourself a writer, recruit?”

I wheel my chair back. “Um, yeah. Sure.”

“I didn’t hear you, recruit!” he bellows, nose an inch from mine.


“Yes, what, recruit?”

I snap to attention, saluting with my Strunk & White and tucking Self-Editing for Fiction Writers under the other arm. “Sir! Yes, sir! I write novels, sir!”

“Oh you do, do you? On the computer, recruit! Give me 20—pages. And they’d better be your best—none of that Momma’s Boy drivel you wrote yesterday.”

Yep, that’s how it would be if I had a drill instructor at home. But since I don’t, and you don’t either, how can we instill real discipline into our writing lives? If the D.I.s won’t make house calls, we’ll have to go to them.

I’m going to find a writing drill instructor who will make sure I do my stretches and reps—and who’ll cut me no slack.

It could be hard. It could hurt. But I’m talking writing boot camp. I can see it now:

“You call yourself a writer, recruit?”

“Sir! Yes, sir!”

Michael Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. He has written for newspapers and other print and online outlets. He edited several nonfiction books, was the senior editor for a faith-based financial services and insurance organization, and is the ezine editor for American Christian Fiction Writers.