What are you waiting for? Every day you waste not writing, not pursuing your dreams, not finishing that novel or screenplay is just another day you pretended to be a writer but didn’t live as one. Writing is this ethereal pastime. We think unless we have published, or sold a book, gotten an agent, or received formal recognition, that we can’t call ourselves writers. The truth is writing is a way of life. Being a writer is a skin you were born with, like it or not. You can spend years even decades pursuing other interests and have successful careers, but being a writer means you long for, ache for, yearn for, weep for, a keyboard and a blank page. To begin a story is like beginning a new relationship. Discovering what you like about the other person, finding out tidbits, feeling chemistry, getting excited at the thought of spending time with them. Writing is like falling in drunk love and waking up wondering what was I thinking? I am terrible at this. I can’t begin to compete with other great writers. And the dream gets shelved, only to eat away, niggle at the edges of your thoughts, as you longingly hold books in your hands other authors have published and say, How did they do it? What makes them different than you? How did they get all those words onto paper bound by this beautiful cover while your story remains in a dusty drawer or in the back of your mind or buried in a computer file you only open up when no one’s watching.
There is no secret to how they did it. The difference is one word. It’s not talent. If you’re born with a writer’s skin, you were given talent. It’s not craft, though craft is important. It’s not luck, but luck helps. It’s not who you know, although if your uncle is an agent, send him my blog. It’s not quality, it’s not creativity, it’s not editing, it’s not timing, it’s not any of this. So what is it?
The writers who publish their novels are people just like you who didn’t give up. Some of them had longtime careers who finally made the switch. Some figured it out in college and never swerved. But they all faced rejection, writers block, discouragement, disgust with their words, self-loathing, an indescribable sense of failure wrapped up in joy. And the one thing they all share is perseverance. They didn’t stop writing even if they had a day job and twins under the age of five. They didn’t stop writing even though no one believed in them. They didn’t stop writing even when they received five, ten, fifteen, thirty rejections. They just kept at it. And one day, they woke up, and a book was sitting on the table next to them with their name on it. They worried, was it good enough? Had they done enough? But then they let it go and moved on to the next book they could suffer over. What’s your excuse? Too old? So what, tomorrow you’ll just be a day older and no closer. Write it anyway. Too young? So what, no one will take you serious until you take yourself serious. Too hard? Welcome to writing. No one in their right mind becomes a writer because it’s fun. It’s hard work, but when you get it right, you’ll receive the greatest satisfaction life offers the writer’s soul. Keep writing!