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Monday, August 21, 2017

How Seriously Should You Take Writing?

Every once in a while I get to thinking about all the writing stuff out there.

There is so much stuff.

There are so many opinions.

So much advice.

And sometimes I wonder what percentage of people who want to write really need all of them.

The title of this post is "How Seriously Should You Take Writing?" Do you know what the answer is?

However seriously you want.

There is so much stuff out there for writers.

There are conferences where you can learn about writing and meet authors, agents, editors.

There are writing retreats where you can get together with other writers, socialize, and write.

There are hundreds of books on writing you can read about and learn from.

There are blogs, youtube channels, podcasts, Twitter handles, Facebook pages for writers.

There are writing workshops where you can do hands-on learning and get critiques and feedback of your work.

There are open mic nights where you can read your work.

There are community events for writers.

There are writing groups where you meet with other writers and share work.

There are writing luncheons and dinners.

If you know where to find it, there is writing stuff everywhere.

If you really want to write, it can sometimes be hard not to get sucked into trying to do everything--everything mentioned above, including actually writing, and editing, and public appearances, and social media, and blogging, and contests, and . . .  the list goes on.

But everyone can be a writer. It doesn't require any of the things in that list above. The definition of a writer is someone who writes.

It doesn't have qualifiers.

How seriously should you take writing?

However seriously you want.

I've meet writers who simply post chapters of their stories on Tumblr. There are fanfiction writers. There are blog writers. There are people who write stories in notebooks that they want no one to read. There are closet writers.

There are casual writers--writers who write when they feel like it. There are social writers--writers who like to write, but also like writing because of the writing community. They like to take part in all the social connections and gatherings and conferences and workshops and they like to read at open mics.

In contrast, I've edited work for phenomenal, talented writers who have next to no online presence or writing community involvement.

There are writers who dream of being a leading name in the industry. But there are writers who only ever desire to share their work on Wattpad.

If you want to take your writing seriously, you can. You can study up, work, practice, hone, write, edit, put in your 10,000 hours. If you want to take your writing less seriously, you can.

Don't ever let anyone (whether it's intended or not) make you feel like you aren't serious enough to write. Don't let the pressure of the industry rob you of doing what you love and loving what you do.

Of course, this doesn't mean you get to choose all the outcomes.

As best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson says, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

If you are serious about making it on the New York Times bestselling list, you're going to have to work. Hard. You can't expect to put in 100 hours and be there. You've got to do the work. You've got to be more serious and intense.

How seriously should you take your writing?

Well, that depends largely on where you want to go.

There are always some factors out of our control. We can't control the writing universe, unfortunately. But that's one reason why Kevin J. Anderson says, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

The more work you put in, the more opportunities open up. Maybe it's just probability. Maybe it's because other people see how hard you are working, and they reach out. Maybe it's simply because hard work pays off. But it's true. When you work harder and work smarter, that work yields bigger and better results.

But if you only want to write for fun, because you enjoy it and it makes you happy, that's a good enough reason to write, even if it's just a few minutes a day, a week, a month, or whatever. There may be gates or gatekeepers that have a say on who gets to be considered a bestseller, an author, a professional writer, but there are no restrictions on who gets to write.

If you follow my blog because you like to and find it interesting and just want to write for fun, great.

If you follow my blog because you are intense (or obsessive ;) about writing and want to hit #1 on the best-seller list, great.

In the writing universe, there is room for anyone, however seriously or casual they want to take their writing.


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