“Anybody can become a writer, but the trick is to stay a writer” - Harlan Ellison
Was he talking to me? I think he might have been. This is a really important idea he’s putting out there—staying a writer is what makes you a writer.
I am only sort of a writer, I guess. I am writing these days. A lot more on a regular basis than I have in ages. But if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not doing the writing that will make me a writer. At least not much of it. Yes, blog posts are good. They help get my name out there, get people reading me (I hope!). But I still haven’t been working on my stories. And without the stories, I’m not going to manage to stay a writer.
Happily, there are remedies to my problem. I am currently reading Eric Maisel’s new book A Writer’s Space—Make Room to Dream, to Work, to Write. It’s a wonderful book. So much insight, and so many useful, practical ideas for ways to become a writer and stay a writer. Right now, the idea that is resonating with me the most, the one that I can just feel is the most important for me to focus on, is the idea of making a detailed plan.
Detailed. Of course! I should have realized. I write “writing” on my “to do” list most days. And some days I even manage to check it off and feel satisfied that I got in some real writing. But I don’t put down the details of what I’m going to write that day.
A Writer’s Space recommends saying “I am going to write today” and then listing what that means—how long, during what times, what exact bits you’re going to work on, exactly what activities you are going to do to further your writing life.
Details. The things that make for good writing also make you a writer! So simple, so obvious, so overlooked all these years (at least by me). I think I feel an epiphany coming on. Better yet, I think I feel some writing coming on…