For about as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I have wanted to be other things, too – a dancer, an actress, a teacher, a mother – and in many respects I have accomplished each of these ambitions. At one point or another, with one exception, I have earned money doing exactly those things I mentioned.
The exception, of course, is mother. I have yet to be paid for my work in this field.
Yes, I have been paid to write. Not anything spectacular, really, just web copy, but nonetheless it was a validating to add copywriter to my resume.
What makes a writer? This is a question I frequently ask myself. The only answer I can come up with is painfully simple – a writer is one who writes. A writer is not a person who is paid to write, and a writer is not someone who thinks about writing, or talks about writing, or fantasized about being a writer. A writer is someone who sits down and does the work of writing words.
Seems simple enough and yet almost every writer I know will say that the sitting down to write is often the hardest part. Personally, I know this to be a challenge. I also know, though, that writing is like a muscle. The more I write, the easier it is for me to write.
Perhaps it goes without saying that writing, as with any skill, requires consistent practice in order to develop. I suppose the trouble with writing is that it fundamentally requires something that is not often mentioned, something that has nothing to do with syntax or cadence.
Writing requires ideas. More than that, writing requires an ability to distill those ideas into clearly formed thoughts that can be translated into sentences. At its very core, writing is organized thinking.
In that case, I would argue that, for me, the hardest part about writing is not the sitting down to write. The hardest part about writing is generating the spark that transforms the tiny blips of incoherent nonsense in my brain into concepts I can then attempt to name. For me, the practice is far less about developing a relationship with words, and much more about cultivating a dialogue with my thoughts.
Over the past thirty days, I have managed to sit down every day and write something with the intention of publishing it here. This is not the first time I have issued myself this challenge and every time I do, I am always reminded of how valuable it is for me to maintain this daily habit. I plan to keep at it, with no real objective other than to remain dedicated to showing up and sharing something I have written.
want to be am a writer.