Words on a Page Writings about writing

You can't call yourself a writer if you don't write

Someone writing by hand

When I first started my journey to becoming a professional writer back in the 1980s, I knew several people who called themselves a writer. The problem was that they wrote little or nothing. What little some of them did write was never seen by any eyes except their own.

A few years later, when I’d started making a precarious living as a freelance writer, I ran into a few of those folks. Turns out none of them had progressed. They were still dreaming about being writers, but not actually writing.

That brought home to me a lesson about writing: you can’t call yourself a writer unless you write something. Regularly. With focus and intent.

There’s no getting around that.

Keeping your writing to yourself might be therapeutic, but if you want to make writing something more than a hobby you need to do the work.

That means sitting in front of your keyboard, fingers in motion, putting your ideas into words.

And, as I keep saying and writing, you need to put your work in front of the eyes of others. That could mean publishing regularly to a blog, passing your work to a friend or teacher or family member to read and critique. It could mean submitting your work to a publication, even if it has little chance of actually being published.

Or some combination of the above.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: writing is hard work. It takes practice and dedication. It takes time before you improve and find your voice. If you’re not willing to put in the hours and the effort, you’ll keep dreaming. You’ll keep spinning your wheels. You’ll never be a writer.

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