I’ve been a writer most of my life. Because I have been a writer all of this time, I have never actually sought out advice on if I should or shouldn’t become a writer. I am one of those people who just “was” a writer…I didn’t “become” one. This has been both a blessing and a curse for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest blessings has been that I was already knee deep in the craft before I realized some things that may have stopped me in my tracks had I had the chance to consider them.
- Writing is hard – Not difficult, not challenging…but hard. If you think that it is easy to churn out pages and pages of verbiage that makes sense, you have another thing coming. Getting your butt into the chair every morning is the first challenge and then after that…there are days when it is all up hill.
- Writing can be taught – Okay…to some degree this is true but great writing cannot be taught, it just is. That’s not to say that a person can’t be taught to write and then produce a great book…I think they could…but it’s a lot harder for those folks than the ones who were born with a pen in their hand.
- Everyone loves a writer – Sooooooooo not true. I have discovered that many people that I mean who are non-writers think that we writers are arrogant smucks. We are often prejudged because of other people’s insecurities. If people you meet are impressed that changes quickly as soon as you explain that your novels are in the book stores but not on the New York Times Best Seller list.
- You have to love it – You have to love writing to be a writer. If you don’t love it…go get a degree in chemistry because you will fail as a writer. Writing is tough (see item 1) and it takes a whole lot of work. People aren’t always kind to writers, (see item 2) and it can be a lonely business. You have to love it in order to put up with all the crap that comes with it. (i.e. editors, publisher, people who think they can write your books better than you can…)
These are just a few of the basics I have learned along the way. If someone had pointed these out to me in the beginning, would I have become a writer? Probably…but it might have been nice to know in the beginning that I would face these and many other challenges. Here’s the thing though…if you love the writing, constantly hone your craft, understand that people can be cruel and idiots a lot of the time and work hard at it…the benefits far outweigh the crap you have to put up with.
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