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  • Bryan W. Alaspa

You Gotta Sit Down and Write

Sometimes I get people asking me about what it takes to be a writer. I mean, I do it for a living. I write all day, almost every day, and then I also write books and novels in my spare time. I think most people feel they have a creative streak, I think most people do. We all can imagine things when we are kids, but something happens to some of us when we grow up and that streak gets pushed aside for the practical stuff. Those of us who can hold on to that childlike feeling, we can try to make a living being a creative person.

There is no magic that I can bestow upon you that will make you a writer. If you have the talent, even a little bit, to tell a story then you can probably train yourself to write. When I was little, I discovered I was pretty good and making stuff up and then I just started writing. It was horrible stuff - but I was in third grade and just making up my own stories was enough. I eventually got fairly good at writing short stories, discovered I was total dog poop at writing poetry or songs, and then tackled my first novel in high school. What resulted was dreadful, but showed me I could writ a long form tale.

I cannot tell you how to write. I cannot tell you where you need to go to train to be a writer. You will know if you can do it. Have people told you that you would be a good writer? More than a few and a few beyond your mom? Then you probably have that talent.

I took English classes. I took fiction writing classes in college. There is an endless number of classes, workshops and writer retreats you can spend money on and attend. You can do so for years. However, none of it will truly make you a great writer.

What will?

Well, at some point, you just gotta sit down and write.

I mean, if you spend all of your time in a flight simulator - you are not a pilot. If you can throw a snowball really fast and really accurately - you are not a major league pitcher. If you are very good at a first-person shooter military video game - you are not a soldier.

If you attend class after class and retreat after retreat, but never sit down and write a poem, a song, a screenplay, script, short story, novel, article, essay or - whatever - you are not a writer.

This is how Stephen King said he would consider calling someone, officially, a "writer." Did you write something? Did it get published? Did you get paid for it in some way and use that money to buy things or pay bills? Congrats - you're a writer.

I agree with that. So, stop looking for the magic. Get over the fear of the blank page. Stop arranging and rearranging your outline, character bible or notes.

Write the story. It may suck, but so what? That's what editing is for. But to truly be a writer - you have to write.

So do it.


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