Filed under Advice • 15-05-2013 •
I dislike the term “aspiring writer”. You see it a lot in people’s social media profiles, but to me it seems noncommittal. Either you write, or you don’t. And if you do, please have the guts to say so. If you want to be a writer, don’t wait to be asked. Nobody’s going to say, “Hey kid, would you like to be a writer?”. You have to become one all by yourself. Start thinking and acting like one. Say to yourself, “I will look at the world the way a writer looks at the world. I will react to things the way a writer would react. When people ask me what I do, I will tell them I’m a writer. And when it is time to write, I will write like a writer.” Life’s too short to fuck about wasting time. Internalise the identity. Don’t be a person with a job who writes in their spare time; be a writer who has a job to pay the bills while they learn their craft.
Next, convince yourself you can write, and then be confident enough to get some words on paper. And if your first attempts suck (and they probably will), have the balls to stick with it: keep learning, keep refining, keep improving. There are no short cuts; you have to sit down and do the work. You have to have the confidence to produce a finished manuscript, and the humility to take criticism from readers, agents and editors. You have to be arrogant enough to believe that the world wants to hear what you have to say; but if you’re too arrogant, nobody will want to work with you. Believe in yourself, but not to the exclusion of all else. Believe that you are a professional writer, and act like one. And what do professional writers do? They write. They put the work in. They strive to improve, to make every story they write better than the one they wrote before.
Aspiring writer? I’m an aspiring millionaire, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever be one. Take yourself seriously. You might be unpublished, but if you believe in your heart that you’re a writer, say so. Declare to the world that that is what you are, and act like it. Don’t wait to be asked. Find your calling. Find a way to make it work. You won’t get a second chance.Tags: writing hints • Writing tips