Wanna be a writer? You’re going to have to, you know, WRITE

by melissa caddell on June 23, 2010 · 7 comments

in writer-ly stuff

Lots of people say they want to be writers. And this used to make me panic a bit, actually, because I wanted to be a writer and I figured if everyone was a writer, I’d never get any work.

What I discovered, however, is that lots of people say they want to write, but very, very few of them will ever do it.

Phew! (Not to be all about me, but just for a second…)

As with anything, wanting to do something is not actually the same as doing that thing. No, really, hear me out on this: writers write. One more time (in case you are caffeine-deprived): writers WRITE.  You know, write? As in, words? On paper? Or a screen?

I am still near the beginning of my writing journey (about 100 blog posts, ~90 other web articles, some magazine article publication, a self-published ebook under my belt). So I am still learning, clearly. But I have noticed that real, live writers do two things:

1)  They write. I wrote very badly at first (note: I did not mention my 55,000 word really, really bad first draft of a novel in my writing journey. Because it’s horrible. No, I mean it.) And I didn’t write about anything that was all that interesting to anyone, either. I started writing on my personal blog about three years ago. I can’t even look back at those first posts because I’ll cringe. (You can, if you want, just don’t tell me how much hope they bring you, ‘k?) But I wrote. I started writing one post a week. And as I had more ideas, I wrote things on YourHub.com and some pay-per-click places (which I’ve made about 73 cents on). 

Writing requires practice. It’s okay if it’s terrible at first.  Let me re-phrase that; it will probably be terrible at first, so just get that part overwith. Blogging is one of the best ways I’ve seen to develop your own style and voice, so I recommend you start with that.

2) Writers hang out with other writers. Wait, let me amend that; published writers hang out with other writers. I started going to a local writing group LONG before I called myself a writer. In fact, it took a couple of published articles and attending the group off and on for two years before I could stutter out the words “I’m a writer”.

Writers tend to be fairly solitary critters. I think it’s because we are talking in our heads all the time and feel like live people are an interruption of the story or article going on internally. But how on earth are you going to learn about writing and publishing and how to normalize your feelings of “I write drivel! Pointless, crappy drivel! That no one will want to read!” Every writer feels that way, but you would know that if you went to a writing group. No one understands writers better than writers. Even if you have a fabulous person in your life who lets you talk through your really, really, really terrible story, they aren’t going to move you forward and improve your writing like other writers will.

If you want to write, you are meant to do it. You have a story to tell that the world needs to hear; whether it is on a blog, or in your local newspaper, or in a novel. If you want to write, write. And hang out with others who write, too.

© 2010, melissa caddell. All rights reserved. If you steal my stuff, I will also be really, really mad.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Courtney June 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I’m terrified of interacting with other writers face-to-face! It feels like stripping down in front of your personal trainer and saying, “Whaddya think?”

I need to get over it.

2 Melissa June 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Courtney–I hear you! Does it help that all writers feel that way? Writing really is one big dis-robbing session, after all. :)
Find a group in your area (goggle ‘writer’s group + city) or ask at your local bookstore or library. Then, come back and tell me how it goes!

3 Michele Cushatt June 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

Well done, my writer friend!

4 Jan Parrish June 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Great post. I am raw on my blog this week. Check it out.

I hear you about ‘everyone wants to be a writer.’ I often want to ask them if they’ve ever submitted or if they just talk about writing.

5 Alyssa June 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Oh, man. Does outlining a novel count as writing? Probably not. You’ve inspired me to get on it, friend!

6 Nicole aka Gidget July 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Your words are wise, friend, and a good reminder for me. :) I’m a little out of practice, except for blogging. Wish I had a writer’s group like yours out here!

7 Jason November 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Are you doing the 50,000 word writing this month?

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