DEAR “ASPIRING” AUTHORS,
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. “Aspiring” is in quotations because if you are writing, you are a writer.
You have to earn the right to be called an author, but you know how you do that? Not by being published, but by writing.
If you’re writing, you’re a writer. An author.
You’re doing it, not “aspiring” to do it.
Maybe you’re actually not writing, though. Maybe writing is getting pushed lower and lower on your list of priorities. That’s okay. But it has to change.
I’m not saying you have to write every day. No, that’s actually how burnout works.
Writing doesn’t have to be the number one priority in your life. But writing does have to be a priority.
Books get written when their author shows up and write.
Even if you’re only giving your writing 10 minutes of your day, consistently give your writing 10 minutes of your day.
I know. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.
Writing is frustrating because you put so much work — YEARS of work — into getting your book out into the world. Years of work before your hard work “pays off.”
Even before a debut, there are probably several other unpublished books that won’t see the light of day.
All of those books took a lot of work, no doubt.
It’s hard not to feel defeated when the story you have in your head doesn’t translate onto paper in quite the right way.
That’s okay. Because writing is FUN, right? Writing is our passion. We breathe stories and bleed words.
I know that’s easy to forget. Writing is hard, don’t get me wrong. But that doesn’t mean we have to dread it.
I’m going to take a stab and say that a lot of writers have a shaky relationship with their writing. And I think I know why: there’s not really any external validation until you get published.
So what do you do? Suck it up and chug along until you snag an agent, sign a publishing deal, hit a bestseller list?
Nope. Nope. Nope.
This is where the disconnect is.
You do NOT need to aspire for external validation.
Let me say that again: the only thing that makes you a writer, an author, is WRITING.
If you’re unhappy when writing, if you’re dreading your writing sessions, if you’re waiting for this freaking first draft to be over so you can start the second then edit the third then query the fourth, stop.
Writing is all about the journey. It’s about taking an idea and turning it into a book.
If you’re not enjoying the journey, if you’re not enjoying the process of writing your story then why write?
I can’t stress this enough.
Writing is hard, but I think we talk a little too much crap on our passion.
We whine and complain and do what we do because “I have all these words in my head and I just have to write them out but I hate every minute of this.”
Writing isn’t all butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows, but if you’re writing, you’re doing something you’re passionate about.
That’s pretty amazing.
I’m not saying if you dread and endlessly procrastinate your writing sessions, you should quit.
I’m saying that you should find a way to change that dynamic.
Find a way to let writing fill you up instead of drain you.
I wish I could tell you exactly how to do that, but changing your relationship with writing is a journey in itself.
Start with gratitude. Be thankful for your passion. Be thankful for your creativity. Be thankful for the time you have to work on your book.
If none of that works, then maybe it’s time to write a different story.
Write the book you want to read. That’s how you make sure that everyday you’re sitting down to a blank page of an awesome story that has yet to be written. And guess who get’s to write it? Yeah, you.
I once saw a tweet that we should all feel like Leslie Knope when we’re writing. How would she treat her story? Treat your writing like its a waffle or Pawnee.
Stop aspiring to be anything other than what you are right now.
Start loving your writing.
Once writing makes your soul happy, you won’t need publication or awards to update your status from “aspiring” author to author. Writer.
Stop aspiring and start writing.
How’s your relationship with writing? What are y’all working on this May? How can you give your stories a little more love?