This post is for those who are living the dream of being a writer in their heads, but haven’t taken any practical steps to make it happen.
Yes, I’m offering writing motivation for the non-writing writers out there. Any aspiring writer will know the days/months/years spent dreaming about becoming a writer—the anticipated pride that will swell in your heart after you publish your first work.
Yep. That’s a good stuff.
The problem? It’s a figment of your imagination.
But… it’s an important figment.
You can’t achieve a goal unless you can first imagine achieving it, so this stage is actually a crucial one for accomplishing your publishing goal. Hang on to it. Stoke its fire. Cherish it. But move beyond this stage or else float eternally in limbo, living in a fantasy.
A friend once told me that the trick to becoming a good writer is getting your bad writing out of the way. This makes a lot of sense to me. Simply knowing techniques that produce persuasive, meaty, or rich writing is a great starting place, but nothing beats the knowledge you gain from getting your hands pen-ink-dirty and putting in the writing hours.
That bit of writing motivation from my friend also taught me that you can’t be too precious about your writing. If you’re a newbie, you’re going to be kinda suck. There’s just no way around that. And that’s okay. It’s good, even.
It means you’re actively writing, acquiring new skills, and getting better as you go.
This is your writing journey and keep in mind that it’s going to be filled with words and characters and plot twists—not diamonds or one of those flowers that only blooms once a decade.
Don’t be too precious about it. Crack a few eggs.
…and fling your ideas into a bowl.
In fact, I think the most precious thing we try to preserve by avoiding writing is our internal dream of us-as-writer, in whichever form that might take for us personally.
If that’s the case for you, you have a choice. Do you want to live forever as a writer in your own mind? Or do you want to kinda suck for a while, while improving each day, through actually writing? Obviously only one option will let you achieve the reality of publishing your work.
Want to be a writer? Then start.
If you want to be a writer, you need to be a writer. It’s that simple. Don’t wait for the future.
Why not wait for the future?
Because you’re already in it.
Chances are that this moment—right now—will feel so similar to any other moment in your future that this may as well be your future.
There’s no perfect beginning; there’s only the beginning that you choose.
You will always be too tired, too bored, too lazy, or too busy to start. So embrace your imperfect circumstances and write anyway.
Or maybe you’ve set a precondition for yourself. (“I’ll start once I get a new computer,” or “I’ll start when I have some time off.”) But these are excuses preventing you from taking the scary first step of forging a path and making specific choices. The future won’t present you with a perfect time to start writing, which means that the perfect time is right now.
The only writing motivation you really need: Start
Break your pattern of inertia and open up a Word doc and start.
Or grab a pen and paper and start. Actually—seriously—right now.
Don’t even bother finishing this blog post.
Jot down any character sketch, a scribble, a half-thought out plot idea, or any character dialogue you have running through your head. Don’t think about it.
Keep one other thing in mind: It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be. As we make specific choices, we move further from the realm of possibility and closer to specifics. To accomplish our goals we need to make choices, choices that necessarily close doors of other possibility.
This can be scary, but it’s a necessary step towards creating your work, and you will have many chances during your writing journey to change your path or even forge a new one.
The most important part of your journey is beginning it.
Prove to yourself that you can do it.