When I began my writing adventure a couple of years ago, I heard many things about what it took to become a writer. Things like “write every day” or “try new things” or “go to writing conferences” were big advice from everyone I met. And I believed them and I did those things. But something was still lacking from my world.
I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. So the motivation to “do” is internal but the inspiration and drive to “get it done” languishes. Most days I need help just to get out of bed, let alone produce anything writing or otherwise so finding inspiration has been a struggle.
I’ve also heard multiple times throughout these past couple of years that it doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. That logic never made sense to me though. If your goal is to become a published author in a certain genre, it seems to make sense to write in that genre until you “get it right”. Just keep plugging away at that one thing, right? Keep querying “those” agents until you find one that likes your stuff, right?
But in reality the stuff you write and send off to agents is ALWAYS going to be hit or miss. No one knows the formula for what makes a successful novel or can predict what the next smash will be, so how can you ever write the perfect thing? How do you know when you’re making progress? How do you know when you’ve struggled enough?
These things have been hanging in my head for all this time now with no where to land, no answers, no clear path.
But over the last couple of months, something happened to me that has made a huge difference in me as a writer that seems to me to be THE answer I’ve been looking for. You see, I joined a writing group. A merry band of cohorts who have fast become my friends and inspiration. We laugh a LOT. We critique a LOT. We work a LOT. We talk a LOT.
Last night, after an evening write-in, it struck me … this big idea … this answer.
Surround yourself with a group of writers who get you and support you and then write. Inspiration + productivity
I know, I know, it sounds terribly boring and how is that such a big idea? Well, the thing is since no one can really tell you what the formula for success is, the odds are that the one who writes the most will be the one who has the most success. And the ones who write more are the ones being inspired and encouraged and prodded by those around them. And the best things out there being written are the things that were written from being inspired to write them.
So, it really doesn’t matter if everything you write is crap because the more you write, the better you will become … and it doesn’t matter what you write either, because the more you write the better you will become … and one day, somewhere in the pile of everything you have written will come a gem that no one can quit reading no matter how late it gets or how tired they are.
And isn’t that what we all want?