Monday, February 3, 2014

Just Keep Writing

Whenever anyone asks me how long I've been writing I say, "Since I was 12."

I'm now 53 . . .you do the math.

Now, I assume the stuff I wrote for the first 20 or so years of my writing career were not very good.  But the point is, I kept writing because I loved it.  And like any craft, the more you do it, the better you get at it.  Eventually, I got good enough to get published, nearly 40 years after I started writing.

When someone says to me "Oh, you're a writer?  I'd like to be a writer" I ask, "And what have you written?"  The usual answer is "Oh, I have some ideas but I've not really written them down."  And I smiled, nod, and say, "Nice weather we're having" or "How about those Seahawks?"  Because if they haven't bothered to write anything, they really don't want to be a writer.

People ask how to become a writer and I say, "You write."  You sit down at a computer / typewriter / legal pad and you just keep writing.  Will it be crap? Maybe.  Will it get better?  Yes.  If you read (you are reading?) and you write, you can not help become a better writer.

I am pretty much an autodidact when it comes to writing.  I wrote at least half a million words of crap before I wrote Rock Killer, my first novel (in terms of when I wrote it) that was published.  I wrote, off and on for almost 40 years.  And I read voraciously, especially writers I thought I could learn from.

I doubt that Russell Wilson was born a great quarterback who could get to the Super Bowl.  He probably threw millions of passes from the time he first picked up a football until yesterday's game.  So why do people think they have to write like F. Scott Fitzgerald the first time they sit at a computer?  Believe me, you won't.  But you never will if you don't start writing and keep writing.

Yes, get advice.  Yes, join a local writers' group.  Take constructive criticism.  But believe in your vision and yourself enough to just keep writing.  You will never ride a bike unless you keep pedaling.  You will never be a writer if you don't write and write a lot.  Write every day.  Just keep writing.

Let me say that again: just keep writing.

3 comments:

  1. Fantastic and so true

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  2. Well said and so very true. When you first start writing and the words sound anything but what you so veraciously read, its easy to fall into the trap of thinking "Well, maybe I'm not a writer." Posts like yours are a great wake up call: of course it isn't that easy! Why should it be? Like anything else it takes practice, practice and more practice. So...back to practicing (smile). Thanks for the great post. It resonated with me.

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