How does one make that jump from the person who says they want to be a writer to the person who says I am a writer?
There is an important distinction between the two, and it has to do with professionalism. The writer loves to write. The real writer wakes up and writes even on the days she doesn’t want to. It’s a job, at the end of the day. That you enjoy it is a benefit, sure, but it’s something you have to do every day as if it were required of you.
Except, no one is expecting you to do your time in this job. You make your own hours and your own projects to work on. And, just like many projects, you need a workspace, a routine, and a goal.
This is more about the process of writing than writing itself. These are ways to optimize your writing, or to get you going if you can’t get started. Real, professional writers get that way because they make a habit of their craft. They don’t wait for inspiration.
Figure and flesh out these three things for yourself and stick to them.
I pride myself on being able to carry a small notebook with me wherever I go, in case inspiration strikes me. Actually, it’s because I have an awful memory and I’ll forget what I was thinking by the time I get to my workspace.
For me, writing isn’t real writing unless it’s on a desk in my living room, in the morning while the kids are in school or at night after everyone goes to bed. Your workspace should be yours and yours alone, at least through the time you set for yourself to write. This is your corner office and no one can visit during your ‘meditation hour.’
What optimizes your writing during the time you’ve set for yourself? I need a cup of coffee, maybe some light music, and my phone thrown against a wall to eliminate distractions. I’d prefer to not be around anyone I know and I don’t want to wear shoes. These are some of the things that help me get the most out of my writing time. You need to find yours.
What helps you get rid of distractions? Stay on task? Stay in the zone? Is it a certain writing software? Maybe a cat on your desk? Writing with the window open? Explore, experiment, and discover what helps you do what you need to do.
Goals (AKA Deadlines)
Alright, this is the one that keeps you from staring at the wall for the entirety of your writing time. You need a deadline. For a while, I was trying to write 2,000 words a day. Then, I got smart and now I have to write at least 500 solid words before I allow myself to quit.
Pick a word count. Pick a daily amount of time. Pick a weekly goal of one short story. Whatever is attainable for you, but will still put you to work. These three tips will help us become writers, but this last one will help us become authors.