In every group of friends there is that one person who is always trying something new. There was the new diet that failed, the new hobby that only lasted two weeks, and the new relationship that crashed and burned. The reason all of these failed was because they were unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to make them work. It’s no different for people who want to be writers.
It’s not uncommon to hear aspiring writers say, “I long to become a writer and land a traditional publishing contract, but I have never written a word and have no idea what to write about. I just keep waiting for inspiration. And, given all that’s going on right now, I just don’t have time to sit down and write. Besides, I couldn’t bear to show my work to anyone.”
If this is you, then I cannot help you become a writer. Like the dieter and hobbyist above, you already have excuses just waiting to be employed. To quote Dan Poynter, “If you are waiting for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”
So, how does one actually become a writer? The first step is to engage in less whining and more writing. Abandon your high-faulting literary romanticism and vocal criticisms of the “lack of literary quality” in today’s published works. No matter what you think of J.K. Rolling’s or Stephen King’s writing, the simple truth is they are making millions and you are not. And understand that you will not be an overnight success. As Malcolm Gladwell discussed in his bestseller, it takes 10,000 hours, or approximately 10 years, of deliberate practice to become an expert in your field, so be prepared to put in a lot time at the keyboard.
Now that we’ve got the excuses out of the way, here’s how to start writing: Continue reading