As I Like It!


Oct 17, 2016

Quote of Week

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”



Once one establishes a reputation as a writer, shaky as it may be, then people will want to tell you about the short story they have or the novel they’re going to write. Inevitably, they will finally get around to asking,

“What do I need to do to become a writer?”

I am usually tempted to say something sarcastic like,

“Well, first you need to sit down and start writing.”

Then I realized that’s tacky, so I’ve developed my ten rules to becoming a writer.

  • The first, and by far the most important rule, is that you must have a burning desire to write. It’s not just a notion that you’d like to try it, but an inner compulsion that makes you have to do it.
  • You must have the need to paint with words. It is very easy to describe a scene, but tough to create the same scene by showing it, not telling it. If you don’t get this concept, then forget the whole business.
  • You must get a rush when you can turn a phrase that hits the situation dead-on. Once accomplished, it’s like that perfect drive in golf—it makes you want to come back and keep writing.
  • Let go of the idea that you must find the time to write. Writing must be your default activity, and all that other stuff called life, needs to be worked in when you can’t write.
  • Let go of the idea that you must have total peace and serenity to write. Learn to write amidst turmoil and distraction. Remember, Harry Potter was written on toilet paper while the kids slept.
  • Don’t write in the hopes of being published. Write because you have to. If you do it right, then publication is inevitable.
  • Don’t write in the hopes of riches. There are a hell of a lot of easier ways to make money.
  • Learn to accept rejection. Most writing is the product of revision after rejection. Learn and accept the concept that just because it doesn’t appeal to a person, isn’t an indication that it has no value.
  • Develop proofreaders who want you to succeed. You must have someone who is willing to tell you that your baby is bad ugly.
  • Locate and be prepared to pay a top-notch editor. A good editor can turn average writing into best-selling novels. The truth is, the editor should get top billing for salvaging the author’s mess.

There. It’s easier than you thought, isn’t it? Ten little rules to becoming a writer. How hard can that be? How many times have you said, “Hell, I could’ve written that.” If you stop talking about writing and start writing, I can promise you, you’ll never regret it.


Image is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to

Categories: As I Like It!

2 replies »

  1. Well said. I turn out a column because I have to – plus I enjoy it – plus people like it or at least those that tell me they do. Will anybody remember it? Likely not but I will. That’s good enough for me.

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