Are You a Writer?

by M.R. Goodhew

I recently found myself exploring the idea of what makes a writer a writer, but more importantly what is a writer that doesn’t write?

A friend of mine keeps calling themselves a writer, but they never write a word. I am somewhat offended, because I am a writer.

My aim with this blog post is to inspire the would-be writer to do what they love, simply because they will so enjoy doing it.

But first let’s explore why it is that some of you might not be writing.

Here Is the Conclusion I Came To:

First of all, if you don’t write anything, then you’re not a writer, because a writer writes!

You may once have been a writer, but if you’re not writing, then you’re not producing anything and you’ve quit.

I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the reality of it.

I felt compelled to write this blog post because I know someone who used to be an amazing writer, but now they don’t spend an ounce of their time at the task. They often talk about the business of writing, but are producing nothing. They waste so many hours of precious time that they could be writing just talking about it. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

If you are like this person then you have a ton of excuses as to the reason you’re not able to write at all right now, and most of them are most likely true and valid. Like the following:

  • You work and then have too many tasks to attend to when you get home.
  • By the time you finish dinner you’re too exhausted to do anything but go to bed.
  • You cannot find a quiet place to focus or just gather your thoughts. Or your significant other will not give you any space to be alone and write.
  • You have a list a mile long of things to do that you are sure you will never have the time to get to all of them, this leaves no time left for something as fanciful as writing. Get real.
  • You aren’t sure how you want to start your book, or how you are going to get back into a book you have already started to write.
  • You don’t have the equipment you need to get started.
  • You can’t realistically devote the time it would take to write your book because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. 
  • You have to spend some time researching some things first.
  • You want to mull over your ideas before you write anything down.
  • You just can’t get into the right frame of mind on demand.

 

It’s certainly not about whether or not you’re good enough to write, because you’ll never be the best at writing that you could be. No one will, there is always room for improvement. But all of your reasons for not writing, whatever they are, are still probably good ones.

Unfortunately they are just excuses, because if you really wanted to do a certain thing, you would make the time to do it. There would be nothing in the world that could stop you, or should, if you have your heart set on being a writer. What you may lack is determination, commitment, dedication, or healthy relationships.  But, there are things that writers do that make them the writers they are, and you can do them too.

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What Makes The Difference

If something is stopping you from becoming the writer you want to be, then change it.

In response to the very valid excuses listed in the section above, I have created a list of alternate realities for writers that write.

  • Almost all writers have day jobs, and they still manage to produce some writing. Why can’t you? Writers make the time to practice what they love, writing.
  • If eating dinner exhausts you then you are eating too much, or too fast, or you need to get your body moving not long after your meal. Just like the fact that you can eat smaller portions more slowly to get full, you can get off your butt to induce the energy it takes to get your mind moving again. It really is that simple. And don’t forget that consuming alcohol and then eating leads to passing out. If you’re a drinker, you might want to think about skipping happy-hour in order to have the energy to devote your time to something you might find more meaningful.
  • Writer’s have a special place they go to write. They insist on the time spent alone in that place in order for them to get any writing done. They go outside, they go to parks, coffee shops, closets, nooks, garages, sheds, bedrooms, spare rooms, bathrooms, wherever they can find, because writing, to them, is that important.
  • It is unacceptable for another person to require your attention 100% of the time. Writer’s need their space and set their boundaries accordingly.
  • There is always time to pursue the passion for writing, because you just finally decide to make the time and you make sacrifices for it, and that’s the way it is if you are a writer.
  • Writer’s write. It is not always what they would like to write that they’re busy at. Writer’s write all the time to hone their skill and keep their creativity flowing. It’s called practice. They write about the weather, they journal about their day, they write poetry, practice with writer’s prompts, they use visual aids, they brainstorm ideas and write those down too. They are busy at the business of writing and therefore always improving their skill.
  • All a writer needs is a pencil, a pen, or something that will make marks and the world can be their canvas. Walls, cement, napkins, paper sacks, wood, whatever will accept the words they need to write will do. A writer writes.
  • A writer loves the act of writing and sacrifices other things in order to do it, often what they sacrifice is sleep.
  • Writer’s make a separate schedule to do their research. They not only research their ideas, they research their craft, to improve their writing skills. 
  • Writer’s brainstorm the ideas they are mulling over and write them down. Sometimes splitting them into a layout that serves as their writing template.
  • Writer’s aren’t always in the mood to write and much of what they write is crap. The important thing is that they are exercising their skill and getting better at their craft by showing up to practice it. They will write about whatever comes to mind just to get some words on paper and call it good. Writing is writing, whatever you write about. A writer knows that the book they are writing is just a draft, and probably the first draft, so it will suck anyway. There will be plenty of future sessions spent editing their work, and polishing their previous writing.

 

Know that nothing will change unless you go about the task of making it change. A person can talk about the way things ought to be for miles and get nowhere if no real action is taken.

The non-writer should commit themselves to writing and dedicate time to it on a regular basis if they want to be a writer. The goal is not out of your reach, but the tomorrow your waiting for will never be here, so do yourself the favor of starting today.


Look for my next post which dives into how you can create the time to write, and methods I use to get the words out when I’m having difficulty. You might find the post extremely helpful if you find yourself struggling to write.

Don’t get discouraged, for those of you who aren’t writing yet, you are a writer waiting to happen.

What do you think would help get someone back into the writing habit?

29 thoughts on “Are You a Writer?”

  1. Writing – just write. Good point. I also find that making comments on blogs, discussion groups etc, especially to do with the subject I am/intend writing about can be copied and pasted into a folder for use (completely or edited) at a later stage in one’s manuscript. Saves trying to think of what to write – there’s no excuse for ‘writer’s block’. Write, jot down words. Writing doesn’t have to be in chronological order – that comes later.
    No ‘quiet space’ doesn’t matter. Unless you have a 2 year old tugging at you, kids fighting for the same toy (or whatever) then sit in the middle of it all – and use that energy for that particular piece of writing.
    Thanks Michelle for your insights and comprehensive list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for your comment. I have to say I agree with you. I’ve written in some of the strangest places using whatever I could find to jot my word down on. For example. In an email to myself on my smartphone from the back of a harley. HA! Not bad eh? 🙂

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  2. I will add this: people who wish to give advice to writers should check their spelling and grammar before publishing an article about advice!

    Sorry, but there are far too many errors in this article for me to take it very seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Touche! Back to editing! You are so correct. Thank you 🙂 In my defense I’m just starting out, I never claimed to be an expert at the craft. I made the mistake of letting this post before I had the chance to edit! I’ve been more focussed on writing rather than editing lately. I just went over it and there were a lot of mistakes, how embarrassing! I appreciate you letting me know. Thanks again 🙂

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    1. Thanks! I agree with sticking to your writing plan, even if you don’t feel like writing. It’s like any other talent, it needs to be practiced repetitively and regularly in order to improve. I think it’s awesome that you have your plan in place and are so dedicated. 🙂

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  3. That is what I heard from the first time creative writing workshop I went to and which I keep reading in every book about creative writing and most blog posts about creative writing – writers write.
    And I do not even want to contradict it.

    No matter if you are a bad or a good writer – even a bad writer is a writer when he writes.

    As even a reader who keeps reading dime novels/penny dreadfuls will be a reader, a writer writing nothing but clichés and / or using the most awful of rhymes is a writer. Probably not a successful one. Or let’s say, probably not an award-winning one … success is subjective, isn’t it? Think Ms Cartland and her clichéfilled writing. In Germany we had similar published writers, Utta Danella (aka Utta Schneider, aka Stephan Dohl) for example. Nothing surprising in her novels, predictable “comfort food reading” … she had her audience (70 millions sold books)!

    So whoever tells you you are only a writer if you are published, win awards, are acknowledged by literature professors and sell millions – forget it. You ARE a writer if you write, regularly.

    What is success for you is your own goal you set yourself: Anything from a story a day, finishing that book, poems galore, publishing, making it to full time author (warning, THAT is unlikely to happen for most authors, even successfully published ones usually do not live from their books, Ms Rowling is a very big exception to that rule!) to just writing something regularly, your diary, a blog post – anything goes, every goal counts. Just keep on writing. Your voice matters at least to one person – a very important person in your life: Yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What an awesome comment, I love what you had to say here. I appreciate your comments about the styles of other writers and what they accomplished. I think you’re right, and it feels good to be a writer. Although I’m just starting out, I’m glad I’m finally doing it. I used to only think about how much I wanted to write. For years, more than a decade, I wanted to write but never made the time for it. Now I can’t seem to pull myself away from writing. Granted, I don’t believe I’m the most fantastic writer, but it feels good to be writing again. It feels great to publish something and know that all the time I’m putting into my writing is only serving to make me a better writer. If at least one person can appreciate something I’ve written, than I feel like I’m on the right track. I may never be famous, but I feel fulfilled because I’m working at something that I so very much enjoy. Thanks again, your words are inspiring 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Other than my two blogs, I’m not writing much right now. However, I am half-way in reading that first draft. You are absolutely right, it does suck. Yet occasionally, I find a sentence, phrase or even a whole paragraph that makes me say YES! Thank you Michelle.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm, I think that among the most likely things to get someone writing again is the support of family and friends. I don’t mean people who will – without batting an eyelid – tell them that everything they write is perfect. But, there are little things less motivating than people who ask *genuine* questions (because they’re naturally interested) and who provide accountability by periodically asking about progress.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree. The person I mentioned in this article is back to writing again, FINALLY. I am so happy for them because it is something they love so much and are so extremely talented at. I can’t wait till they get their blog up and running and start sharing their work with everyone. I think you will really like them all the way around, they’re just awesome 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Your post woke me up further. Much as I believe I am a writer… but, even with all my well-liked posts, if I do not publish a book or two ASAP…I will not reach anywhere in blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alka, thanks for the comment! You are a terrific writer and poet. I think it would be awesome if you published a book or two, you know that createspace accepts stories as short as 5000 words too, so you could publish one of those to get started…or a book of your poetry. Your fans would love it I think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Michelle! Every word of encouragement counts, as right now I’m constantly nagged by my inner voice, that I could very well be idling myself on this blog. Actually, it was by chance I saw some of my ideas copied on some other blogs and got worried thereafter.
        I’ll check Create Space. Till now I have looked at Amazon eBooks, via Kindle. What’s the difference there, I’ll have to find out.
        Thanks again. Will revert to your site as well for any future guidance.

        Liked by 1 person

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