The Writing Process Pt. 5: Getting Serious About Writing

Writing and being a writer are two very different things. Many people say that they write, or that they aspire to be a writer. But are they a writer? “Nah,” they’d say, “I’m not a writer, but I write.”

So, what makes a writer? How do you know if you’re serious about writing? And how do you know if you’re a real writer?

There is an abundance of answers to this. Maybe this means working on a story every day, or getting a degree in a related field, or being published. Yet, I’ve met a lot of people that have fulfilled one, or all, of these requirements and they still don’t feel like a writer or even consider themselves a writer.

After several years (is 11 years several?) of writing and shaping my own writing process, the one thing that I’ve noticed about those people that consider themselves writers (including myself) is their consistent writing practice. These individuals range from fellow students, tutors, writing friends, and authors. Every single one of these people have shown similar tendencies to write every day in some way, albeit a journal entry, a paragraph of an essay, a quick verse, or a chapter of a book. This diligent consistency in writing is what progresses their work. Even on days when these people didn’t write, I noticed how they would talk about writing, and oftentimes they confessed to at least thinking about it during their everyday life.

This personal connection and active conscious regarding writing is obviously developed over time. You don’t just wake up one day, say “I’m going to be a writer,” and suddenly start writing every day. Yet, in order to build this relationship to your writing, consistency is key.

One of the top tips that I’ve heard from fellow writing friends, authors, professors, and mentors, is that if you want to be a good writer, you have to write every day. Think about it like a sport; if you want to get better at a sport of some kind, you’re going to practice every day, either at home or on the field/floor/court. Same in the arts; if you want to get better and create a finished product, you have to practice at it and work on it every day.

So, what makes a writer? Consistency.

Through a consistent writing practice every day, or even every other day, you are giving yourself the opportunity to practice your skills, explore new ideas, try new writing techniques, channel your energy, and incorporate your life experience from that day into a brand-new product. The writing doesn’t have to be good, or even a lot. You don’t have to write a full chapter every day, just a sentence or a paragraph is a good starting point. Of course, if you’re farther along in your writing journey or you’re already an accomplished writer then you can try for something more ambitious like 2000+ words or a chapter each day.

So, as the New Year comes around the corner and you’re thinking “what resolution should I make to be a better writer?” I’d say start with trying to write every day. Or, if you’re brand new to this, try writing every other day. If you can do this, you’re definitely on the right track.

Sorry this post is a little short, friends! If you’re looking for some more tips or ideas, leave a comment or visit my contact page.

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