Since I was seven, I’ve told people that I was a writer. I used that as a primary identification all through my formative years, and in High School, I was one of the top writers in my school. I loved it. I ate it up. And then?
I didn’t write much.
“Writer” can be a deadly noun. Well, any label can. If you label yourself a “runner,” and then wreck your ACL, are you still a runner? But writer seems to be especially tricky. That and “artist” and “poet” and anything that requires creativity and motivation to keep doing it.
Before 9/11, I wrote 100% fiction. After 9/11, I somehow switched to 100% nonfiction. And then, I still didn’t write much. I blogged all the time. I wrote five or six or ten posts a day (still do, if you follow my various projects). And somehow, I never qualified it as writing.
My Trick for Writing
Blog. I’ve learned that the simple act of using a blog to store my writing gives me a lot more framework and structure. I write much better and more frequently into the blue and white of a WordPress template, or into the beauty known as Performancing than I ever do in MS Word or whatever we’re supposed to use on Macs.
Start a private blog. Install a local copy of WordPress. Get in the habit of updating THAT blog with your single project (cough cough…book…cough cough). Trick yourself. Lie. Just say it’s blog posts. Go light on the URL links and the conversational tone (unless your book is conversational in tone). And just write in there.
Write for Money
One thing that sometimes helps spur writers on is money. In the old days the question was, “Are you published?” With sites like Lulu making self-publishing a good thing instead of a vanity, that’s not a hard question to answer. But, when people ask me about all the blogging I’m doing, they say, “Do you get paid?” Boy, it’s rough to feel so sheepish when I answer “Not in cash.”
But then again, ProBlogger just announced a jobs board: http://jobs.problogger.net . So, if you wanted, you *could* get paid for blogging. I suppose there are other ways, but that just seems like an easy way to do it.
The Secret to Writing is… to Write
So whether you’re doing it for money or for passion and other intangibles, I think the secret to writing is to write. My trick to getting that done is using an interface that doesn’t make me think of writing as work. Maybe because I blog a few hours a day, this works.
Would it work for you?