So you want to be a writer?

​Do you want to be a writer? I mean, do you actually, genuinely want to be a writer? It may seem like an odd question and most of you are probably saying…yes, of course I ACTUALLY want to be a writer. To give you a full explanation of why I am putting this question out there I think we need to have a little story time.

A long time ago there was a young boy, he was probably around seven or eight when he first decided he ‘wanted to be an author’ but little did he know, he was far from ready. All throughout his Primary School life he would enjoy writing short stories whenever he was given the chance to do so. As he grew up and became a teenager he would spend hours pacing up and down his bedroom thinking up plots and characters and daydreaming about fantastical worlds in which to base his stories. A few times he would even start to write and might get one to three chapters written down before he lost the drive and put the story in a drawer to gather dust. Then he lost the spark, for many years he didn’t even think about writing. He got a ‘real’ job and started to earn money, he paid bills and did all the other boring adulty stuff that adults have to do. He went through a series of hobbies and jobs that he didn’t really enjoy but rarely thought back to those stories he used to write. Then one day when he wasn’t such a young boy and in fact was discovering his first few grey hairs sneaking onto his head while he slept he started to think about them again. A little while after that he started writing, writing in a disciplined and regular fashion. He finished his first complete manuscript for a Novella and then finished two more.

As you might have guessed that young boy turned out to be me, the nearly thirty year old who can now say one hundred percent honestly, I WANT to be a writer and I am a writer.

Since making the decision to really become a writer and actually make this a reality do you know what I have done? You guessed it, I have written, a lot. I have joined and visited many writing groups, I recently participated (and won) in Nanowrimo and at the same time penned short stories for competitions and wrote this blog (This post and a few others, which you have rightly guessed I have since edited to reflect the later posting). One thing I have noticed from spending time with more people who ‘want to be writers’ is that most of them do not want to be writers. Most people who say they want to be a writer just want to dream about being a writer, they like the idea of making stories but they don’t want to actually do the work to make it happen. I have spent time at these groups astounded to hear that people who told me they wanted to be writers say things like ‘I haven’t written any prose in two weeks’ or ‘I never managed to finish nanowrimo, I did write 5000 words last November though’.  

Luckily I have also met some very talented people who say things like ‘I get up at 5AM everyday and write for the same amount of time because then I have to go to work’ and people who have written multiple books or published some short stories. Do you see the difference that I am getting at here?

Many people dream of having written a book but not many people actually want to write it in the first place. If you want to make a career as a novelist then you are looking at writing anywhere in the realm of 1000 to 5000 or more words a day. Let me repeat that so that it settles in, you will write more than one thousand words EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes there might be the odd day in which you genuinely cannot make it to the keyboard but for the other ninety nine percent of the year you will sit down and write, and the day after the day you missed you can bet your bottom dollar you will be working to catch up with lost time. 

Now I grant you that being a novelist is only one possibility, maybe you want to write magazine articles or poetry or even short stories. Whatever the case you still need to build a consistent writing habit and until you do so you will not be a writer.

So I shall repeat my question, do you want to be a writer? If the answer is yes then go and write, write whatever you enjoy writing and never look back. Don’t let rejection stop you, don’t let people saying it is a pipe dream stop you…and most definitely don’t let reading this stop you. Now go, go and do some writing!

Until next time my friends, I shall leave you with this. To paraphrase Ronnie Coleman ‘Everybody want’s to be a writer but ain’t nobody want to do some heavy ass writing!’

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