I am going to admit something – I went through this phase for years.
It took me a long time to commit. When I talk about commitment I mean knuckling down and doing the work. Setting my alarm early so I can write before work. Taking my laptop to work so I can write in my lunch hour. Writing in the evenings. Reading everything in my genre I can get my hands on. Writing draft after draft until I think it is worthy of showing to an editor or literary professional. Writing and then deleting hundreds of words because it is not right. Writing on my holiday. Writing over Christmas.
All of the above is not easy.
Here are the telltale signs you like the thought of being a writer but are not yet ready to commit to a writers life:
- You spend a lot of time talking about writing but don’t actually write anything.
- You claim to have been suffering from writer’s block for most of your life.
- You put more effort into trying to look like a writer. You have no idea what a real writer looks like so you use your imagination and plump for a lot of tweed, a beret, a pencil tucked behind your ear and some geeky glasses.
- You spend a lot of time talking about your unwritten debut bestseller.
- You are rarely seen writing by loved ones.
- You get a kick out of announcing that you are a writer at dinner parties and other social events. Most real writers avoid the subject like the plague.
- You change the subject quickly when someone asks to read some of your work.
- You spend hours on social media everyday tweeting and pinning stuff about writing, as opposed to doing some writing.
- You have some elaborate ideas on how your book cover (for your unwritten best seller) will look. A lot of planning and thought has gone into this.
- You put a lot of effort into trying to act like a writer. You have no idea how a real writer acts so you use your imagination. You use a lot of big words in conversations and you spend long periods of your day in a coffee shop, scribbling down notes, sighing loudly and telling uninterested customers that you are busy writing your best seller.
- You sit down at your writing desk feeling excited about actually doing some writing. You stare at a blank screen for a good five minutes, get bored and then call your friend to tell them not to call you as you are very busy writing. Three hours later you and your friend are still chatting.
- You find it difficult to identify with writer friends who are going through writing hell as you have never been through any form of writing hell.
- The thought of spending all day locked away writing does nothing for you.
- You have made some enquiries into the services of ghost writers.
- You have put a lot of effort into making your home like a ‘writer’s home’. You have no idea what the home of a real writer looks like so you use your imagination and litter your house with dusty old typewriters, books that you have never read, posters of J.K. Rowling, an extensive collection of ‘how to write a best seller’ books and pots of pencils.
If this is you – don’t panic.
Writing seriously is a commitment.
If you ultimately want to write a book you have to make room for it in your life and to do this you have to give up some of your free time.
It doesn’t matter if you are not ready. You can commit to writing seriously at any age.
If you are struggling, let the writing go for a bit.
Go live a bit because this will do your writing the world of good when you finally decide to put pen to paper and learn your craft.