I was reading from Jeff Goins’ book “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)” last night. In the first chapter he talks extensively about being a blogger and how he didn’t feel like a writer. In fact, when a friend asked him what his dream was, he said he didn’t have one. It was his friend who responded, “I thought you wanted to be a writer.”
That changed something for him. And even though he didn’t feel like a writer, it changed something in his writing. He got back to writing for himself – writing about his passions. He stopped writing what he thought he should write, and got back to writing what he wanted to write. For Mr. Goins, it made all the difference.
I should be a writer too. I WANT to be a writer. Many people have told me that they like the things I write … when I write.
And there’s the rub.
To be a writer – I’m not saying author, which implies publication (at least to me) – to be a WRITER requires one simple task.
You have to write.
So… if I want to be a writer, writing can’t just be the occasional blog post. It can’t be limited to being a member of a couple of writing forums where I encourage other people in their writing. It’s more than just taking a few online classes. I can’t only talk about the ideas I have and the books I want to produce. I have to actually put the words on the paper (err… the screen). I have to start telling my stories.
I have to write.
And you know what? The thought kinda terrifies me. That seems crazy, I know. But what if I put down the words and discover I hate them all? What if I find that I’m no good? What if people laugh at me? What if…. What if whatever?
And the answer to all of that is this… So what? All the what ifs don’t amount to anything. The simple fact is, if I want to be a writer I have to write. Nothing says it has to be good. Nowhere is there a rule that says you’re not a writer until somebody likes you. A writer, by definition, is a person engaged in writing. It’s time for me to start doing that again. And I know from hearing lots of testimonies from writers, and even my own experience, that the process of writing makes you a better writer. That effectively kills that excuse.
So… in the immortal words of Captain Picard…
If you want to join me, I invite you to take part in Jeff Goins’ challenge to writers. Let’s do this thing!