You know what the problem with some advertising slogans is? They are true. And as such, their truth becomes over-used and ignorable. The difference between an actual writer and someone who wants to write? The writer wrote something. Today. Earlier. And will write something later. Just write, it’s a simple piece of advice.
The problem, and it’s not just with writing, is that we tend to radically over-think these things when we’re getting going. Will it sell? Is there a market? Can I find a publisher? Do I need an agent?
If you take a few deep breathes and step away from the worrying machine for a moment, you can clearly see that this is just ridiculous. Conceited and arrogant even. Really? You’re thinking about the market for something you haven’t even STARTED?
At some stage you ARE going to need to spend a lot of time thinking about these things. But if you have never published anything before (not a newspaper article, not a poem online… nothing, nada niks etc) then worrying about that before you have anything written at all is just an exercise in ego and procrastination.
For the purists, this is an annoying piece of advice. If you look at it, never ever in the history of the written word has so much material been published by so many people and accessible to so many people. This, so the argument goes, is diluting the worth of really good writing. But it isn’t really. Really bad writing has a way of failing, disappearing. Really good writing tends to last.
Besides, what are your goals for writing anyway? If you’re thinking about money and fame, think again. The days of the rock-star poet/novelist are long dead. In fact, the days of the rockstar are pretty much dead. You want to get a publishing deal? Well, you might be too late for that as well. At least the kind of deal you are thinking about, you know, the one with the big advance, international book tour and thousands of sales of physical books.
So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, get on with that writing. Whatever is going to happen, it makes life a lot easier if you have an actual THING to show around. Everyone has an idea, a book, a poem, a trilogy in their head. Very few people have most of it written that they can show and share with anyone interested. It’s easy to dis-count and ignore someone who explains an idea. After all, there is a 95% chance they will never act on it. It’s much easier to take someone seriously with an actual manuscript or print out. In fact, if you’re not already famous, you have to have at least that done.
So, stop talking about that wonderful idea for a guide book to your hometown, your unique business idea, your novel, your collection of poems. Clear the space in your daily schedule and get writing. Write every week day. Write every weekend. Write whenever and for as long as suits you. But write. Otherwise you are not a writer, you’re just another person talking about wanting to be one. And that group includes an awfully large number of people.
Be different. Write it. Then start worrying about the rest.