Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Be a Writer

You've come here with hopes of learning how to be a writer. Isn't that my unspoken promise to you, as a writer and a blogger? Show you the wisdom? There are plenty of blogs saved on microprocessors at remote servers, housed in large manufacturing facilities, sucking up the AC and the electricity that will tell you: Here's How. You do this, then you do this, then you try this, and suddenly, you hold the brass ring and you are making money and you are happy and fulfilled.

Sorry. Wrong place.

Here's a funny story. I've recently acquired a cat. He is now half of my animal holdings. My dog and my cat have come to terms with each other. They are, despite their species, very much alike. We have negotiated a routine. I sit at my computer every morning, trying to work on something productive, and they watch me. There's no delusion on my part that they watch because I often eat my breakfast at the screen. Yogurt. Cereal. Today, a bagel. They are rapt because of my bagel. The aroma of toasted wheat and melted butter, who doesn't have a little chubby for bagels? I wave it over their heads and they follow this potential treat like a god-head. They follow it with their instinct, eyeing it as it circles in their sky (hey, I can tease, I feed them), and they flick their tongues, purr and wag, and believe the bagel will drop from on high and life will crack open into nirvana.
Worshiping at the Bagel Goddess

You think the same thing about reading blogs about writing.

Here's what I know. No bagel will do it. Bagels are too easy. You think like an artist. You are. But writing for commercial gain is a business. At some point, you'll find yourself making decisions based on forces that are counter to what brought you to the writing table in the first place. You will recognize creativity is good; the commercialism, at best, is annoying. Maybe you'll find nirvana by not thinking about either; you just write to write; or, alternately, you just write to make money. Very few do both.

My best advice? I have none. Maybe it is one of the reasons I blog, because I come here and try to figure out this path. Here is the dumping ground for my head junk -- on the page (more accurately, remote server) rather than the un-air-conditioned manufacturing plant of my brain. Lately, I've been focusing on reducing distractions: the chatter of world news, the infinite worries of parenthood, the price of bagels. Distractions suck the life out of writing.

So minimize them. Go write. Wallow in your creativity. Butter your bagel, snarf it down, and get back to me about how it went.


  1. Nice post and what a cute cat!

    1. Thanks for coming by, Sonya. You do so much for writers. Come back and post your web address so readers can see your upcoming classes. jf

  2. Nice post! You make some good points. I'm still trying to figure it out, but I like the idea of wallowing in my creativity. :)

    1. I think NanoWriMo is a good way to wallow. It really requires a person to turn off the internal editor. But, I'm resisting the urge to participate this year so I stay focused on what I have on my plate already. That is a struggle because it can be so much fun.


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