Everyday I think about becoming a writer. Everyday I drive to work and every night when I drive home I plan the various stories I have swirling around in my head and when I get to where I’m going I have to stop. I daydream about how magnificent it would be to be able to sit down anywhere I want and write something. To have that writing read and enjoyed by others. To be free to let my imagination run wild with no time frame of when it needs to be turned on and shut off. This is my first step to making that dream a reality.
I struggle with a few things that I lack in order to become a writer; time, focus andskill. I plan on writing my way through each of those, which is the reason I’ve started this blog. I am going to keep myself on track in this endeavor by writing about my life, however uninteresting that may seem. Through the development of my skills as a writer I am going to make the uninteresting be interesting. With dedication and drive I am going to keep this blog going by focusing on my goal. By holding myself accountable I’m going to stop wasting my time wishing I could be a writer and actually write.
I know these are easy things to say rather than do so I’ve made a plan behind each of them. To develop the skill of writing I will take advice from Stephen King. While reading quotes on writing and being a writer one of the most principal was Mr. King’s, which stated:
If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
I’m terrible at both so that is something I’ll have to absolutely work on. The write a lot part is already started with this blog. Reading a lot is the next part. I’ve always been odd that I adore books but never read them. A bookstore is my toy store as an adult (I wrote an alternative to this sentence that sounded really wrong). I feel so at home in a bookstore that I like to go in simply to be around the thousands of books on the shelves.
But I read maybe one book every two years. There are various reasons behind this and all of them are excuses. Not enough time. TV is easier. I can’t concentrate. I can’t commit to a book for that long. But when a book comes along that I’m interested in enough I don’t stop at anything to finish it. When reading The Da Vinci Code I could have finished it a day if I weren’t told to stop multiple times, the same goes with The Shining. I just need to commit myself time to be able to read. I plan on picking a book and reading at least one chapter a day. More is better but there is no reason I can’t complete one chapter a day no matter how busy, noisy, time constrained I am at that time. These two acts together should be enough to hone my skill enough to be a better writer.
My next problem is time and I think this is going to be the easiest one to solve. The only thing keeping me from having the time to write are my priorities. I prioritize the easiest thing to do at the top and everything underneath that is based on how much energy I have at that particular time. Similar to my plan with my lack of skill I am going to make sure I write everyday. If I let a day go by without writing its going to end up snowballing and all of the momentum I’ve built up will fall to pieces. I want it to be purposeful writing and not repetitive. If I write in this blog about my day or my thoughts it has to include something about writing somewhere. It can be an aside or a “ps” at the bottom but I need to keep some time spent for writing and not goofing off completely.
Although I also don’t want this to be only about writing. I want this to be about an entire change and catalog it as it goes. Some days it will consist of details about writing and other days it will be about a movie I saw or a baseball game I was watching, as long as the entry is helping the skill develop.
Lastly, and the most difficult, is focus. I created this blog two nights ago and my first night was spent making a gmail account, a twitter account, researching what the best blog site would be and then creating this blog. Last night was spent fiddling around with the format and the site design and writing a bunch of nonsense that I’ve since deleted. I had this screen open for over two hours last night and none of what I wrote is left. I was distracted by the tv, by the internet, by talking, by animals, by every single thing that I could be distracted by. My focus was complete shit and I started feeling tired around 930 and shut my computer down for the night. I’ve always felt that I could never be a writer because I don’t have that drive and desire to write. Its not burning on the tip of my fingers to get these words on paper so how can I possibly write a novel or two or more to make it career. The problem isn’t the desire its the focus.
So far my entire life I’ve never been focused enough to want anything. I’ve never committed myself so completely to something and given it my all to make it happen. My focus is crap but its because I let it be. There are various reasons for that and this is where I’m going to fix them.
First and foremost is my weight. I am closer to 300 lbs than 200 lbs and it disgusts me. I’ve lost this much weight before and I can do it again as long as I have a little focus. (I say this as I’m going to an all you can eat wing night tonight. Last hurrah?). Yesterday around 2 pm I felt so incredibly tired I could have fallen asleep in my chair if I leaned back and just let it happen. I propped myself forward in front of the keyboard and typed “lack of energy” into Google. Obviously it came back with a few key items; diet, weight, inadequate sleep and boredom. All of these I am going to fix. The diet (starting tomorrow!) is going to consist of healthier items. Combine that with 20 minutes of exercise a day will help with the weight. Those, in turn, will fix the inadequate sleep. The boredom will fix itself if I can do everything I’ve mentioned so far. If I can get more energy then my focus will improve and I’ll be able to write more. I’m not bored right now. I’m not tired right now. I’m focused and I’m driven to write.
When I do all of these things I will have no obstacles to me becoming a writer. I’ll be able to work on my ideas. I’ll be able to write short stories and novels alike. I’ll be able to send all of my ideas into contests and publications. I’ll be able to call myself a real writer and get published. I’ll be able to feel like I’ve accomplished something instead of floating through life so aimlessly and remarkably that I can’t even tell that I’m living. Then when I’m sitting in some restaurant or balcony with my laptop open and looking out at some majestic piece of wonder I’ll have a new distraction to overcome but at least it will be something worth it.
If you want to be a writer, you should go into the largest library you can find and stand there contemplating the books that have been written. Then you should ask yourself, “Do I really have anything to add?” If you have the arrogance or the humility to say yes, you will know you have the vocation.