“I want to be a writer.”
So many people say this to me. Or I might hear, “I’m a writer, just like you.” Or, worse, “You’re so lucky; you’re a writer.”
Luck has nothing to do with it.
“What are you doing to nurture your writing career?” It’s a simple question I ask of all writers.
The question often receives a quizzical look.
More simple questions:
“What are you reading?”
“How much time do you spend writing daily?”
The answers are revealing.
“I don’t have time to read.”
“I watch TV. That gives me story ideas.”
Not. There are few, if any, good story ideas on TV.
To become a writer, you must do two essential things: Read and write.
If you told me you wanted to become a professional musician, let’s say a pianist or guitarist, surely you’d see the best way to do that is to listen to music and to play music. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The same simple principal applies to writing.
I spend a minimum of two hours per day writing; same goes for reading. On most days, I spend a greater number of hours on these activities. Average number of hours spent watching TV: daily, 0; weekly, 0; monthly, 0.
You won’t become a professional in the downhill ski circuit if you don’t practice for horrendous hours, day after day. Why would anyone expect to hone writing skills without the same devotion? Some have greater natural talents for certain skills; but innate talent will not develop without practical application.