I know that at least some of the readers of this blog are also writers, and perhaps some of you want to start writing and aren’t quite sure where to start. Well, you’re in luck, because I am about to give you the complete guide to being a writer. Here it is, Step One:
You must write.
That’s it! That’s all you need to do to be a writer…by definition.
It sounds obvious, you may be saying, but there’s a reason why if you ask almost any professional writer, they’ll tell you that that’s rule number one. The reason is that it’s easy to think about writing. It’s easy to talk about writing. I can think of at least three people off the top of my head who have told me they want to write a novel. To my knowledge, no one I know has actually written one, except for people I specifically sought out as writers.
Don’t get me wrong. Thinking and talking about writing do have their place. If you plan your stories (though not everybody does) or if you worldbuild for them (which you probably should), thinking, planning ahead, and even talking to people more knowledgeable than yourself are essential. But you’re never going to get anywhere unless you actually start putting words on paper, or start putting words on the computer screen. And that can be very hard.
Another thing that’s very easy is coming up with excuses not to write. This is something else that all the professionals will tell you. See examples here, here, and especially here. The point is that none of those excuses matter. Even if you think you don’t have time to write, for example, you can make time. After all, plenty of people have written books while dealing with bigger problems than you probably are. What’s your excuse?