HOW I BECAME A WRITER
First of all and to avoid any confusion let me clarify what the word ‘writer’ means to me and you’ve probably heard it before – a writer is someone who writes. Simple enough you’re thinking but there was a time when it didn’t make any sense, at least not to me. That’s all well and good, I would think, but how will I know? Did I need to take courses of some kind? Be published? Win awards? What? I read lots of articles, blogs and listened to writer’s talks but they all said the same thing. I went right on searching and getting nowhere. For ages I just didn’t get it.
Then one day, in one of those famed ‘light-bulb’ moments, all the information simply fused together. Suddenly it made perfect sense. A writer isn’t someone who’s going to write when they’ve learnt all there is to know first or wait until their writing is perfect. A writer is someone who writes – present tense. A writer simply starts and they write every day despite the self-doubt, the anxiety and the endless internal dialogue. They devote every spare minute to writing and they’re not afraid to say they’re a writer. They put their work out there knowing full well it will be scrutinised, pawed over and picked apart. They embrace the constructive, dismiss the destructive and they learn the craft as they go.
So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote every day and I learnt as I went. I read blogs, articles and ‘how to write’ books; listened to TED talks and tutorials; went to author talks, joined writing and poetry groups and put my work out there. I shared it with poets, writers and people in general and I listened to the feedback, the critique and the comments and adjusted accordingly. I made improvements. I started winning competitions. I started getting published. I can honestly say I have never worked so hard on anything before. It’s certainly had its moments but I have a favourite quote for when things get tough – the only time you should look back is to see how far you’ve come.
There was a time, I would agonize over the faults and flaws of my early work and wish I could get them back but I don’t worry anymore. As imperfect as they may be, every piece of my writing I chose for the public domain was the best of my ability at the time. It’s simply a matter of perspective. Each and every piece has earned its place on the learning curve and I give them all the respect and admiration they deserve because without them to show the way I wouldn’t be writing at all.