How to be a writer


When I tell people I’m a writer, I usually get one of two reactions: 1) judgement, for choosing such a flimsy career move or 2) envy, because they wish they were a writer.

Well guess what folks, you can shove it if you fall into category 1, but if you’re category 2, I have news for you: YOU CAN ALSO BE A WRITER!*

“But how?” You ask, eagerly awaiting my words of wisdom.

Well, let’s start with what you don’t need:

  1. You don’t need a clanky, vintage typewriter from a thrift store to be a writer
  2. You don’t need to wear glasses to be a writer
  3. You don’t need to wear chic vintage threads to be a writer (I personally favour sequinned frocks and pink blazers, go figure)
  4. You don’t need to know lots of big words to be a writer
  5. You don’t need a writers nook – it’s a myth that we have desks with views overlooking the water, most of us write in bed or in front of the telly
  6. You don’t need to cave to writer’s block – trust me, it’s not going anywhere. Try writing about something else, or taking 15 minutes out to get some fresh air. That’s all you should need

And here’s what you do need:

  1. To write every day – yes, every day. A writer is a writer because they actually write, not because they got their story on the front page of the paper. That’s how you get better, by actually doing
  2. To be able to take criticism and feedback, constantly
  3. To be able to write for yourself – writers often don’t get paid, this sucks but it’s part of the job and if you can’t write just for your own joy, then what are you doing?
  4. Equally, to write for an audience. You need to be willing to write outside your comfort zone, because not everything can be politics and food (or whatever your preferred niche is)
  5. To have bad days – sometimes, at the end of a day, I throw out everything I wrote cos it was bad. Oh well, I say, I’ll try again tomorrow
  6. To get involved in life – you’ll have nothing to write about if you have no experiences to reflect upon!
  7. Equally, to sit back and observe the world around you and see patterns
  8. A critical eye – to edit your own work, it’s embarassing to submit work riddled with errors!
  9. Any kind of writing tools you prefer – whether it be pen and paper, a laptop or yes… a typewriter if you really want
  10. The desire to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, that’s awesome, but it’s a tough gig and one that only pays off if you’re in it for the long haul

You also need to find something to motivate your writing – I write to find clarity in things that make me feel extreme emotions: love, happiness, excitement, anger, frustration, sadness. Find what drives you and roll with it. There’s no right or wrong way to write, as long as you’re writing.

So that’s my two cents worth. Personally, I think this applies to so many more things than writing, but I feel like there are thousands of people out there who wish they were writers but don’t know how or where to start, when it’s just as simple as picking up and pen and paper and writing about absolutely anything. And you’ll never get better if you don’t keep writing – I was a terrible writer once upon a time, and I’ve still got a long way to go.

Are you a writer? What drives you to write and how do you get through those tough days when every word you type looks terrible?

*Please don’t become a writer, there’s far too much competition as it is and I’m so poor already…