Don't Aspire - Just Write

Published by Mallory in the blog Mallory's blog. Views: 140

This entry goes out to all of the newbie writers, or to all of the people who have said they'd like to be writers someday.

Don't "aspire" to be a writer. Just BE one. If you write actively, even though you'll have lots of improvement to do (we ALL have lots of improvement to do while working on any given piece, although the areas in which we must improve will vary by levels of experience), then You Are A Writer. Congratulations. But if you "aspire" to write, it means you're thinking in your head that you'd like to to be a writer, while not doing any writing. This gets you nowhere.

When you're a kid, and you say that someday you'd like to be a doctor/vet/teacher/lawyer/firefighter/businessperson/etc, you can't just jump into the field right away at age 8 (unless we're talking about lemonade stands: hey, you're never too young to be an entrepreneur). You've got to learn the trade first, and maybe go to college, and actually grow up.

But being a writer doesn't require adulthood. It doesn't require any specific degree or license. It doesn't require a certificate of approval (for those who worry about what other people will think of their idea, my first blog post, "On Creativity and Independence," might help you with that.)

So just do it. If you write something for the first time, and it sucks, then fix the parts that suck, and learn some more techniques (rhetorical devices = key to good writing: I'll blog a helpful list of those some other time). Then write something else. Push yourself. Grow.

If you have the attitude of "I'll wait until I know more about writing, and then write" or "I know my writing would suck now, so I'm going to hold off," and you've had that attitude for longer than it takes to sit down and try mapping out a plot, then guess what. You're not going to become a writer. Not anytime soon, at least. Because if you don't write, there is no other way to hone your skill. Getting your elbows dirty is the only way to become good. Period. And there will NEVER be a time when you write something that's just the way you want it the first time around. My first versions are full of plot holes, and I've been writing literally since the same time I learned to read, which was almost 20 years ago. The're ALWAYS there, and it's frustrating to fix them, but pushing through that frustration is part of being a writer.

Writers are dynamic people, whether you think you're dynamic or not. And holding off and waiting, not wanting to take risk, not daring to take a hit, isn't dynamic. Taking the first step forward is - and it's what you have to do to be a real writer, not just someone who *wants* to be one.

If you're reading this, and the aspiring type I'm describing is a description of you, don't take this as a bashing. Take it as a challenge. Go start mapping out your plot - for real, on paper or a computer, not just vaguely in your mind. Then write the first paragraph. And the one after that.

No magical fairy godmother is going to whisk you into a writer because you "want" to be one. The only one who can get you there is you.
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