This year, I quit my job, broke off a toxic relationship, sold all of my things, bought a van, and started traveling. Four months into the journey, I’ve crossed three different states, touched monuments of nature’s inarguable artistry, and developed an inner peace I thought unattainable in today’s hectic modern world.
I won’t go into the juicy details. I will say, though, that I’m glad I stopped waiting. I was tired of wondering “what if?”
As a writer, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of waiting for the muse to come along. It’s so easy to say, “I’m not writing today. I’m just not feeling it.” And as a person who wants to be a writer, it’s easy to say, “Well, I haven’t written anything because nothing has made me snatch up my pen and feverishly scribble out a masterpiece.”
The simple truth is that no progress can be made in waiting. You can plot stories in your head, but they won’t go anywhere if you don’t put them down on the page and give them traction. You can dream characters, but they can’t live if you don’t give them life. Your fantastical setting will never find adventurers if it stays in your noggin.
I’ve heard people dissuade aspiring writers from trying by saying things like, “If it doesn’t want to burst out of you, don’t write it down. If you don’t lose sleep over wanting to be a writer, don’t be a writer. If you think you can live without it, then live without it.”
There is no writer that wakes up every day breaking at the seams with inspiration and motivation. There is no writer that produces elegant and attractive prose without wondering if the work will turn out the way they imagined it. (It won’t, and it’ll be better for it.)
There are days when inspiration propels you through chapters like you had rocket fuel for breakfast. There are days when the very thought of writing makes you groan. And, for some of us, the thought of becoming a working writer seems a task insurmountable.
This is all natural. If you’re looking to be a writer, don’t wait for motivation and inspiration. Create it. Despite popular belief, Mozart did not sit down at the piano his first time and bust out a symphonic masterpiece. He had to practice, every day, until his understanding of his craft made his work a marvel.
You become great by applying knowledge and wisdom to your craft. If you want to be a working writer, there is only way to do it. You must sit down, every day, and write. By writing so much, you learn how to write well.
So write, my friends. Write, and stop waiting.
You can only learn to cut by cutting. Thoughts alone will not hone your blade.