I can’t write, I’m too… (fill in the blank)
Busy, right? That’s the most common answer. And that’s the right answer for a lot of people. Parents of newborns are at the top of this category. CEO’s of massive corporations also fit here. Some people should be too busy to write a book. That’s okay.
However, there are some people who are obsessed and write a book about their experiences while they are having them. That’s another way to do it.
The point is that there are a myriad of ways to write a book. You can write a book alone, you can collaborate, you can write three paragraphs a week or 25,000 words in three weeks. There is always a way to achieve your goal.
Which comes to the point that there are many writers who say, “I would write a book but…” and trail off with some mournful, long speech about how the entire universe has lined up against them to prevent it. And sometimes, those long speeches reveal a lot about how the person perceives the world and their place within it. It will be good for character building later.
There is a subset within the writers who are the type who say, “I always wanted to be.” And this is the group that quite often has the long, mournful speech prepared when anyone asks them why.
People like to think that being a writer is quite romantic, but just like any other profession, it’s not. It is not drinking Scotch and thumbing through the mental thesaurus for a more extravagant word for “pretentious.” I mean, I know a lot of authors that drink Scotch, and some who drink it while writing, but even these individuals typically have an idea of the story they want to tell and how to assemble the component pieces to elicit an emotional reaction from the reader.
Writers plan. Writers develop. Writers research.
I think this is what separates the “I always wanted to be a writer” from the “I am a writer.” A writer could just sit down and start typing, and voila, they’re a writer. It doesn’t take anything more than that to qualify.
However, just like everything else in life, writing has levels, has ability points, and skill sets. They don’t just affect your writing, either. I can’t watch a movie without doing character analysis or dialog review or plot assessment.
And it will affect your writing. I have to sit down and think what I’m writing, if it’s story A, story B, my novel, or a blog post for Barely Salvageable, or a blog post for my personal blog. I need to be aware of who my audience is, and the voice that I’m using.
I think people get intimidated by the depth of skill a writer will amass to become an author. It’s easier to say you’re a writer and then blame writer’s block for your lack of work than to admit that writing is a big, scary landscape of grammar facts and endless edits.
If you really want to be a writer, it’s okay, you already are. Goal achieved, as simple as that. However, if you want to be a writer of distinction, that’s going to take some time to develop. If you don’t want anything to do with being a writer, just say you want to be a photographer instead.