On average, I write a thousand words a day. It’s not uncommon for me to have at least two days a week when I crank out five thousand words or so, and it is very rare for me to go a day without writing something. Not everything I write is fit for public consumption, mind you, and some of what I write is very narrow in its function. I operate three blogs and only one of them has a filter. There are things I have written that will never see the light of day while I’m alive, and if my computer is ever stolen I can only hope the thief is a moron, but that’s a fairly safe bet.
If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to learn to write under less than ideal conditions. This means when your lunch hour hits and there’s a short story milling around in your head you better stop and take time to flesh it out before it wanders over to someone else’s Muse, and they eat it. You make time to read, watch television, have sex, eat meals, and if you’re going to be a writer, a good one, you have to decide which of these activities is going to go lacking so you can write.
Writing is hard work. Editing is a bitch. Rewriting something for the Nth time is downright torture but writing isn’t supposed to be easy. Writing is hard work. It’s demanding and it’s got to be right. Editing is a bitch. I’m not very good at it but I keep trying to improve, and that’s the only way to get it right. It has to be right.
If you want to be a writer, a good writer, you ought to consider what it is that makes other people good at what they do. You can follow perfectly the list of ingredients in any cookbook for any recipe, but does that make you a master chef? What sort of instincts can you count upon when you’re crafting a story about a boy who meets a girl, and then loses the girl, and then wins her back in the end? The answer to what makes a good apple pie might be apples meet pie, apples make pie, and pie gets eaten, but give one hundred people the same recipe, and see how many versions of apple pie you wind up with.
The one sure thing I can tell you is if you’re going to be a writer you have to write more. Set a goal, follow it like it is a religion and you’ll get used to the sound of your voice, and you’ll be able to speak more clearly. Hell, you might even be able to sing after a decade or so. There will be far too many people you know who will ask what you’re doing, and if you tell them you’re writing they’ll assume it’s something akin to masturbation, and you ought to stop what you’re doing to talk to them, go shopping, eat, or they’ll sit down next to you and say, “Is it scary? I like scary!” They would freak out if you showed up where they work and started demanding they stop to talk, but writing isn’t easily understood by those who do not write.
Writing is an art form. Did you ever see someone draw something on a scrap of paper and wonder why they didn’t throw themselves into their talent, and be revealed to the world? Writing is no less a majestic art, and what you write, whatever you write, whatever you write it upon, is no less that scrap of paper. Do not waste your life telling yourself you are not good enough, yet all the while pecking away at ideas that force themselves out of your imagination like orphaned children. Write. Take up your keyboard and walk. You are no less deserving than Hemmingway or Shakespeare. You have no more a humble origin than Rowling. You have not seen greater odds than some, and you will never than others, yet there you are, wondering if you can write.
You can write. You can right now.
I won’t keep you any longer.