Tuesday, March 16, 2021

What Are Common Traps for Aspiring Writers?


The question is evident in plenty of interviews, posed to published authors. It’s a variation on “what would you tell your younger/pre-published self,” or “what advice would you give young’uns,” period.


I posit that the question itself is wrong. An “aspiring” writer is one who never writes but has a yearning to be a writer. Don’t’. Be. That.

We are what we do, truly. 

 If you write in a semi-regular way, you are not aspiring; you already are a writer. What the questioner means is “aspiring to be published.”


“Be published” in the passive tense, means someone else is publishing your writing. Self-publishing is not an aspiration, because it’s also something that is entirely in the writer’s hands and requires a credit card. Either you do it or you don’t. Don’t aspire; just do, if that’s the way for you.


Back to the title. My not humble enough view is that the most common trap for one who wishes (i.e. aspires) to write is they don’t do it.


Down with aspiration. Onwards with perspiration.


Vijaya said...

Good reminder. I think you have to have some audacity to be a writer.

Mirka Breen said...

Audacity? Me thinks not. You just have to write. :)

Janie Junebug said...

The late columnist Erma Bombeck said fans came up to her all the time to express their wish to write. Her response came in her column and could be boiled down to "then write."


Evelyn said...

I think the term 'writer' has different meanings to different people. According to your definition every school child is a writer if their teacher gives them writing assignments. There's nothing wrong with your definition, but a lot of people have a different connotation if they hear someone say, "I'm a writer."

Mirka Breen said...

Anyone who writes (who doesn't have to for a degree or external assignment) is not aspiring to be a writer, they already are. Some think that the word "author" is reserved for published writers. If you author a story/book/article from beginning to end, you are its author.
Tying either word to someone else's decision to publish your work just doesn't fit the reality of the work you are doing. The point is: you're doing it. Actions make you what you are.

MirkaK said...

Thomas Edison pondered what drives invention--what we call innovation. He said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Others have followed with similar quotes about creativity in general. It's true, you can have a terrific idea that pops up in a moment, but if you don't sit down and put in the many hours (sometimes years) to write, whether on paper or in a computer, then it will never be a book.