Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tough Stuff: What It Takes to be a Writer

Whether you're twelve and dreaming of becoming of a writer, or you're twenty and just starting out, there are things all writers need to do, and needs they have in common.

To Do List:

1. Write.

I might be dating myself here, but has anyone seen Throw Mama From the Train (Billy Crystal)? Billy Crystal's character's favorite catchphrase was "Writer's write. ALWAYS." Whether you feel like it or not, you should write, right?

Yes, but that's not always going to happen. So besides writing, writers need to:

2. Have realistic expectations.

...of yourself and others. You're not always going to produce 1,000 words a day. Life happens. As far as others go, not everyone's going to understand you and your madly creative world, so cut them some slack. But remember to:

3. Be you!

Everyone has a unique voice, just waiting to be discovered. Don't sacrifice your writing on the altar of trends, crazes, "so-and-so writes such-and-such a way." You gotta do what works for you. But no matter what, do not forget to:

4. Rewrite, edit, revise, etc., etc., etc.

Everyone needs to. No exceptions to the rules here. Period.

5. Read.

It helps spawn new ideas, show you weaknesses in your own writing, etc.

Every writer needs...

1. Support. 

No man is an island. Join a writing circle, online or in person--or both! Or have some network of accountability and support set up.

2. Encouragement.

It's so easy to get discouraged and want to quit. That's where a support group comes in handy.

3. Constructive criticism.

It may hurt, but it's important to get an outside opinion...when you're ready.

What'd I miss? Have anything to add?


  1. Somehow I think the biggest hurdle for me between starting and *really* getting going has been figuring out process. Writing is something you have to build a relationship with. Something with which you have to build a relationship. And grammar.

  2. Hmm. I hadn't thought of it as building a relationship. Very interesting.