How to go from ‘Someone who Writes’ to ‘Writer’

Like many of thousands of people out there I class myself as a writer and though I may not be rich and famous with 10 bestsellers under my belt, the reason I feel I have the right to class myself as a writer is because I do more than just ‘write’.

Writing is the easy part - I hear you screaming “said no one ever!” - but it’s true. Anyone can write, it’s the quality that differs.

‘Someone who writes’ is someone who can go days, even weeks without writing then just crack open the laptop write a few pages then done. ‘Someone who writes’ does not truly understand the agonising wait as someone reads through what you’ve written with scrutinising eyes or the gut-wrenching depression that can take hold when your books storyline spirals out of your control and writer’s block comes at you with a vengeance.

Someone who writes is not a writer.
A writer does more than just write.

In these next six steps, I hope to give you an insight into how to go from ’someone who writes’ to ‘writer’.

1. Write something daily 

If you truly want writing to be your profession then you have to write… simple. You wouldn’t not turn up to work for a few weeks then go back and expect to still have a job, so why do it with your writing? If you want to write for a career then start treating your writing as a job.
You don’t have to write anything in particular but as long as you write something your creativity will stay in constant flow.

2. Create a schedule and stick to it!

It’s easy to just sit down and write a few words when ever you feel like it or ‘when the creativity hits’ but the real test of being a writer is writing when the well of your creativity is running dry. Having the commitment and determination to write when you ‘don’t feel like it’, when your tired or when writers block has its grip hard around your neck… that’s the true difference between being someone who writes and a writer.

3. Learn your craft 

Would you go for a job interview for a role as a doctor without ever doing any medical training? No. Would you try out for the olympic swimming team without ever stepping foot in a pool? No. So why would you write without reading the genre that you’re writing about?
One point I cannot stress enough is that if you want to be a writer… You must be a reader.
A lot of people don’t read the genre they are writing about because they don’t want to risk plagiarism but what they fail to realise is that these books they are refusing to read are filled with inspiration! These authors have published books for a reason so use what is in front of you! See how they write, how they plot their stories and pen the perfect cliff-hangers, use their skill to learn your own.

4. Don’t become a desk potato 

As a writer it can be easy to spend days cooped up in your little writing space, living off of nothing but coffee and takeaways. If this is you… stop now!
I know it sounds crazy but as important as the actual writing is, lifestyle in general plays a massive part in the quality of your book.
If you are sitting filling your face with stodge, what makes you think your books going to be any different?
If you haven’t moved for days as you stare at a blank page, what makes you think your writing is going to do any different?
Spending time on your writing is important but rather than being glued to a computer screen make sure you take regular breaks. Go for a walk, clean the house, do anything that gets you away from your computer for a little while. I know the thought of exercise doesn’t sound the most exciting but speaking from experience, during these times is when the best ideas come so when suffering with writers block… walk it off.
Instead of crying into a chocolate muffin and then helping it go down with a 2 litre bottle of coke as you edit for the thousandth time, have a salad! Yom some fish or at least have an apple!
Fill yourself with the right type of energy and use that energy to write.

5. Remove distractions 

We’ve all done it, opened the laptop with the full intention of writing the next bestseller then half an hour later realised that we’ve wrote one sentence which happens to be our status update, watched 15 cat videos and ‘fail’ compilations as well as caught up on the latest celebrity gossip.
If you truly want to be a writer, this needs to stop.
I recommend for the first 3 - 4 weeks of your book writing journey cutting off the internet connection during your writing time, turning off phones and removing all forms of distraction us writers can create from nowhere. For me, these forms of distraction can be anywhere from Facebook, Instagram, working out my monthly bills to the random fly that I just have to watch flying around my room.
Distractions are everywhere… being a true writer is learning how not to let them distract you.

And finally…

6. Finish what you’ve started 

It’s all well and good writing the most amazing story, article, poem, blog or book but if you don’t finish it… what’s the point?
Anyone can write a few pages but finishing what you’ve started takes serious commitment.
What you’re writing may not be perfect but if you don’t finish it how will you know if it ever could be?
Even if what you’re writing is not going to be published still finish it. Every bit of writing we finish is improving our skills as a writer, it is helping us learn how to write a beginning, middle and end.
If you have never finished anything then suddenly have that eureka moment of the perfect characters in the perfect story, how do you expect to finish it? The beginning and middle may be perfect but if you have never practiced the skill of writing an ending, of bringing the beginning and middle together to form the perfect plot twists and reveals of why certain things happened that’s the point when your amazing, eureka moment book starts to sag and soon becomes another story on the seemingly never-ending list of unfinished works and dead hopes and dreams.
Finish what you’ve started, edits are there for a reason and when you have the full story written you’ll be surprised what edits can do.

I really hope these tips help with your writing journey.

Don’t give up.

Only you can write your story so write it, don’t deny the world a little piece of you by not making the most of your talent.

J A Shaw

If you've enjoyed this post check out: Overcoming Writer's Block: Journal Your Book

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