Want To Be a Writer? Here's the Hard Truth (If You Want to Make It)

How many times have you heard someone say this: "I've always wanted to write a book."

Now: how many times have you said you would write a book?

Most people have "Write a book" on their bucket list, but how many people actually do it?

Not many.

Which group are you in?

How many people take the time to sit down and write 50,000 words or more? Even 1,000?

Not many.

I was one of those people. For years, I wanted to write.

But I never did.

Instead, I did just about every writing-related thing one could do besides actually write.

I read about writing. I plotted novels. I createdworlds and even fantasy languages and cultures. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and never wrote a single word.

I talked about writing. I compiled notebooks of advice and tips on writing. I visited writing websites. I chatted on writing forums.

But I never wrote any words.

Why?

I guess I wasn't ready to take the plunge and be a writer.

Scratch that.

I wasn't willing to take the plunge and be a writer. A real writer.

The risk was just too scary.

But in November 2011, I finally got past the fear and procrastination, and I started writing. But it took knowing I was very soon going to be a mother to get the fire lit under my butt.

What about you?

How can you take the plunge and be a real writer?

As far as I can see, you have three options (the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced these are really three stages, and you may never get unstuck from the first one).

1. Abandon the whole writing thing.

Get on with your life. Do other things. Catch up on that television series. Pick up another hobby. Keep working your job. Get married. Have kids. Be happy, if you can. Grow old.

All without ever telling the stories rattling around inside you.

Eventually, they'll fade away.

For most of you, this options works.

It's the easiest choice after all.

But let's face it. If you're reading this, this option probably isn't for you. That's why you've come to the internet once more to scratch at that writing itch you have inside you.

No matter what, you always end up coming back to this writing thing. That message, those characters, they just won't leave you alone.

So you move on to Option 2...

2. Have the want, the need, to write. Then stress out about never actually writing.

Do everything except write. Read all the writing books. Listen to the writing podcasts and follow writing blogs. Sign up for one more course because "this incredible offer goes away in 2 hours" and you need it.

You always say you're going to be a writer but you never sit down and write.

Let me say that one more time.

You never sit down and write.

There's always something else that comes up, and you push away the nagging feeling that what you're doing is sabotaging yourself. Because you can't fail if you never start.

No, no. You'll write tomorrow. Maybe next week because this week has been too crazy (oh, and look, another course...).

For another bunch of you, this will work. For years, maybe.

You'll dive into the writing and publishing world, but you'll never execute.

Of course, some people say that all you have to do to be a writer is call yourself one, but are you really if you never write?

I don't think so.

You'll never achieve your writing dream like this.

Instead, you'll always have the feeling that you can be something more. That you want to finish your first book. That you want to be published.

But you'll never act on it. And that's a shame.

A lot of you are probably at this stage. And will probably never get past it. I almost didn't.

I was stuck here for years.

But what do you do if you can't stand that icky feeling any longer?

You choose the only thing that will bring you the true happiness you're craving… Option 3.

3. Take the plunge and be a writer.

You write.

You make a habit of writing stories.

You worry and stress when several days or weeks go by and you haven't written a single word. And you always go back to it, no matter what.

You know that starting is the hardest part, but that you can't live without the high of writing words.

You look forward to writing.

You start and finish books (and you're learning how to do it on a regular basis). You're revising and editing. You're showing your work to other writers and improving your writing skills.

Being published is just a matter of time.

Writing still isn't easy, but you no longer live with the regret of not making it a priority.

Very few of you will finally end up making this choice. Of being a real writer. Of actively pursuing a writing career.

But if today this is you, and you're ready to do what it takes to be a real writer, I congratulate you and support you all the way.

The most important thing you can do right now is this: Take action. Here are some things you should be doing.

(#1 I'm still learning how to do, 6+ published books later.)

What choice will you make today?