Tuesday, 7 August 2012

You Want To Be A Writer?

For all the writers out there, across the sea of technology and beyond, why do you write? It's a question we are asked from time to time and it's one I thought of just recently. Some people love to shop for new clothes, some people love to go out for a meal or a drink. Well, I love writing. It's my hobby, it's my job (unpaid at present) and it's an important part of my life. It still feels strange to say that and it's something I never thought I'd do until life events took an unexpected turn and I found myself at home with my children. Talk about a push. Rather than fitting my writing into my life, it's gradually becoming the other way around, looking for time for family and life in general.

When asked what my occupation is, I still can't bring myself to say I'm a writer. It's crazy but I guess it's because I'm not yet published. And why not, I hear you cry. Simply because I'm not ready. My manuscript is barely half done and so that has become my main focus above any other writing. So, I've banned myself from short stories, poetry and entering competitions -just for now. It's time to knuckle down and get on with it (after I've finished here of course).

So if anyone out there has any aspirations of becoming a writer but doesn't feel that it's possible, ask yourself this question: Do you write now? Does it empower you to do so; are you compelled in some 'wild' way to enable words to flow on paper? When you write, does it make you feel good, does it give you a buzz? Whatever you write, be it journals, a diary or poetry, keep going and develop it.

Remember, reading as much as you possibly can is key. Any writer will confirm that and it's the grounding you require before anything else, by which I mean creative writing classes/degrees/MA. I've no doubt that classes as such can help you to improve your writing but reading is the grounding every writer requires. And don't simply read if you can help it. Become a critical reader -look at the language used. Whose point of view is it? What happens when an alternative view point is utilized? Analyse and deconstruct the book. There's so much to learn from reading alone and it will truly help your writing.

Often the path to writing utopia is anything but smooth. Just this year I have experienced one diversion after another. It doesn't take much to upset the apple cart and then the veil descends, shrouding the thoughts; starving the mind. The term, 'writers block' is often bounded around and discussed in writing circles. It conveys a negative tone and therefore it's a term I've decided not to use or to surrender to. The challenge is to be positive in everything that we do in life and this is no exception. I'm learning to walk through walls!

So, I decided that to write anything at all is better than nothing. I'm told that the more you write, the better it will be. Any creative writing lecturer or successful writer will tell you this. Continuity is vital and it not only helps you to produce and complete work but it's part of your 'training' in becoming a better writer.  And this is no overnight transformation. It takes years. I've witnessed the odd published novelist blushing when asked
about their earliest literary endeavors -I'm sure you have too. Perhaps then I might dare suggest that a good writer is rather like a good wine -you get better as you mature (so you see, there's always hope).

Another point that troubled me is that I have wasted so much time in procrastinating and allowing myself to be distracted at every turn of a page. The past year hasn't be as productive as I had planned and so I'm regaining control. The time it's taking me to plough through with my manuscript does make me feel rather inadequate at times. Sensibly I tell myself it isn't a race, nor is it a competition. It's time to shake off the doubts and the shackles I imagine I wear that are bound to my peers. Negativity is the only barrier here and it must be removed and banished.

So, for aspiring writers out there who are beating themselves up because their path is anything but smooth, stop right now. It's a waste of time. Be positive. Take a deep breath, take a break and then begin again. Join a local writers group or an online community. Engage with other like minded souls and participate in some critiques. Offer your own work for critiques. I've done this and can vouch that it works - you learn -you also help other people. But please always remember to be positive and diplomatic with critiques. There's always a good way to tell people that the writing could do with a change here and there. Don't go down the bad route.

The buzz I get from writing is amazing. It lifts my mood and that's got to be good. It's exciting to create and craft people, problems and situations. In essence, to create a different world, time and life. And yes, you certainly do have to be resilient and you also need drive. Settling yourself down to begin your daily writing regime requires commitment of the ultimate source -after all, you're not getting paid and you may not be for some time. But never lose sight of the end goal. 


  1. From one sidetracked aspiring writer to another: I can definitely relate to what you're saying here. I'm glad that you shared your thoughts on this, Suzy!

    By the way, have you noticed that many have a clear distinction between beeing a writer and being an author? The difference? You're an author the moment you get published/paid to do what you write...

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Rita.

    Yes, I'm aware of the writer/author distinction. Novelist is another. That's a good one for a debate. There are still novelists out there who state their profession as a writer. Is it necessary to have the distinction? Thinking about it, it is true to say that one hasn't necessarily 'made it' just because one is published. We are governed by rules, policies and 'labels.'


  3. I would agree with everything your write in this blog post - its what I tell all my students - write a great deal and as often as you can
    Best wishes
    Marion Husband

  4. Hi Marion,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. To be successful in anything you have to demonstrate dedication & commitment. Writing is no different. The main problem I hear of is finding that regular writing time. But if you truly want it you'll find a way to interweave a regular slot, be it 15 minutes or 2 hours a day. Look forward to keeping in touch.
    Best wishes