by M.R. Goodhew
I recently found myself exploring the idea of what makes a writer a writer, but more importantly what is a writer that doesn’t write?
A friend of mine keeps calling themselves a writer, but they never write a word. I am somewhat offended, because I am a writer.
My aim with this blog post is to inspire the would-be writer to do what they love, simply because they will so enjoy doing it.
But first let’s explore why it is that some of you might not be writing.
Here Is the Conclusion I Came To:
First of all, if you don’t write anything, then you’re not a writer, because a writer writes!
You may once have been a writer, but if you’re not writing, then you’re not producing anything and you’ve quit.
I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the reality of it.
I felt compelled to write this blog post because I know someone who used to be an amazing writer, but now they don’t spend an ounce of their time at the task. They often talk about the business of writing, but are producing nothing. They waste so many hours of precious time that they could be writing just talking about it. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
If you are like this person then you have a ton of excuses as to the reason you’re not able to write at all right now, and most of them are most likely true and valid. Like the following:
- You work and then have too many tasks to attend to when you get home.
- By the time you finish dinner you’re too exhausted to do anything but go to bed.
- You cannot find a quiet place to focus or just gather your thoughts. Or your significant other will not give you any space to be alone and write.
- You have a list a mile long of things to do that you are sure you will never have the time to get to all of them, this leaves no time left for something as fanciful as writing. Get real.
- You aren’t sure how you want to start your book, or how you are going to get back into a book you have already started to write.
- You don’t have the equipment you need to get started.
- You can’t realistically devote the time it would take to write your book because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
- You have to spend some time researching some things first.
- You want to mull over your ideas before you write anything down.
- You just can’t get into the right frame of mind on demand.
It’s certainly not about whether or not you’re good enough to write, because you’ll never be the best at writing that you could be. No one will, there is always room for improvement. But all of your reasons for not writing, whatever they are, are still probably good ones.
Unfortunately they are just excuses, because if you really wanted to do a certain thing, you would make the time to do it. There would be nothing in the world that could stop you, or should, if you have your heart set on being a writer. What you may lack is determination, commitment, dedication, or healthy relationships. But, there are things that writers do that make them the writers they are, and you can do them too.
What Makes The Difference
If something is stopping you from becoming the writer you want to be, then change it.
In response to the very valid excuses listed in the section above, I have created a list of alternate realities for writers that write.
- Almost all writers have day jobs, and they still manage to produce some writing. Why can’t you? Writers make the time to practice what they love, writing.
- If eating dinner exhausts you then you are eating too much, or too fast, or you need to get your body moving not long after your meal. Just like the fact that you can eat smaller portions more slowly to get full, you can get off your butt to induce the energy it takes to get your mind moving again. It really is that simple. And don’t forget that consuming alcohol and then eating leads to passing out. If you’re a drinker, you might want to think about skipping happy-hour in order to have the energy to devote your time to something you might find more meaningful.
- Writer’s have a special place they go to write. They insist on the time spent alone in that place in order for them to get any writing done. They go outside, they go to parks, coffee shops, closets, nooks, garages, sheds, bedrooms, spare rooms, bathrooms, wherever they can find, because writing, to them, is that important.
- It is unacceptable for another person to require your attention 100% of the time. Writer’s need their space and set their boundaries accordingly.
- There is always time to pursue the passion for writing, because you just finally decide to make the time and you make sacrifices for it, and that’s the way it is if you are a writer.
- Writer’s write. It is not always what they would like to write that they’re busy at. Writer’s write all the time to hone their skill and keep their creativity flowing. It’s called practice. They write about the weather, they journal about their day, they write poetry, practice with writer’s prompts, they use visual aids, they brainstorm ideas and write those down too. They are busy at the business of writing and therefore always improving their skill.
- All a writer needs is a pencil, a pen, or something that will make marks and the world can be their canvas. Walls, cement, napkins, paper sacks, wood, whatever will accept the words they need to write will do. A writer writes.
- A writer loves the act of writing and sacrifices other things in order to do it, often what they sacrifice is sleep.
- Writer’s make a separate schedule to do their research. They not only research their ideas, they research their craft, to improve their writing skills.
- Writer’s brainstorm the ideas they are mulling over and write them down. Sometimes splitting them into a layout that serves as their writing template.
- Writer’s aren’t always in the mood to write and much of what they write is crap. The important thing is that they are exercising their skill and getting better at their craft by showing up to practice it. They will write about whatever comes to mind just to get some words on paper and call it good. Writing is writing, whatever you write about. A writer knows that the book they are writing is just a draft, and probably the first draft, so it will suck anyway. There will be plenty of future sessions spent editing their work, and polishing their previous writing.
Know that nothing will change unless you go about the task of making it change. A person can talk about the way things ought to be for miles and get nowhere if no real action is taken.
The non-writer should commit themselves to writing and dedicate time to it on a regular basis if they want to be a writer. The goal is not out of your reach, but the tomorrow your waiting for will never be here, so do yourself the favor of starting today.
Look for my next post which dives into how you can create the time to write, and methods I use to get the words out when I’m having difficulty. You might find the post extremely helpful if you find yourself struggling to write.
Don’t get discouraged, for those of you who aren’t writing yet, you are a writer waiting to happen.
What do you think would help get someone back into the writing habit?