How to be a [writer]

by Starla J. King on April 18, 2013

I’ve spent many years trying to figure out how to be a writer, looking for that elusive  magical *something* that takes my time writing in journals and through blog posts and websites and alchemizes it into the golden substance of “being a writer.”

This year, I think I discovered the secret:  You become a writer by acting like one. 

Actually you become an [anything] by acting like one.  Writer, musician, landscaper (I have proof), manager, surfer — you name it — you become it by acting like it.

You become a writer by doing things that “writers” do.  

You write.  Often, in every mood, in all forms, on the computer, in a notebook, in your head, in the quiet of your bedroom, in the noise of a coffee shop, in the bustle of a train station, at a desk, in a chair, on the floor, on a fallen log in the forest.

You talk about writing.   You let people around you know that you’re writing.  You don’t downplay or __________ it; you own it.

You read about writing.  You read what other writers and wanna-be writers and used-to-be writers say about writing.  And you read their writing.  (Click here for recommended reading list)

And if you really want to convince yourself you’re a writer, you go on writing retreats.  You block off several days (yes, days) on your calendar and make a full-fledged plan to focus on writing — not on your day job, not on your garden (I know, I know!), not on your 5 year business plan — just writing.

writing retreat with chicken

And then you take another writing retreat, at another location, during a different season.   Go to the beach and write with the sunrise and the rhythm of the ocean.  Go to the mountains and write the stories of the trees and the rocks and streams.  Go to a friends’ backyard studio and leave the door open so you can write with the chickens and dogs and cats checking in while the birds sing their support.

And then you forget all about this concept of being a writer, because in the end the only thing that matters is that you write. 

Write. Paint. Sing. Heal. Love. Write some more.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

tina burkholder April 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

oh Starla – I love this! You are soooo write. (And I love the chicken)


Starla J. King April 19, 2013 at 9:53 am

Tina dear, so glad to have you as an integral part of all of this! (and the 7 chickens here have been DELIGHTFUL)


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