Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Stop gazing out of the window!

I saw it again today and it made me cross enough to dust off this blog and make one of my rare forays into the ether.

Will you please stop referring to yourself as an aspiring writer or a wannabe writer.

You may aspire to being a published writer (by whatever definition of ‘published’ you care to choose); it is possible that you are a wannabe published writer. However, you write or you do not write. An aspiration to write is a waste of your time. If you do not actually write anything, you cannot aspire to being published (unless you are someone with an agent who can get you a book deal despite the fact you cannot string three words together in crayon). Writing means working. Hard. For years. Without reward. That is how you produce short stories, novels, poems, screenplays. Well, that is how you produce good ones. I’m enough of a realist to know that a lot of garbage gets picked up and published – look at the best seller lists. You may wish to try that route. That’s your choice. I have made mine.

Accuracy is important in writing, using words to pinpoint an emotion or state as exactly as possible whilst using the resource that is language to do so in a new and memorable way is part of what you are meant to be doing. If you cannot get it right at this stage you will be adding to the heap of garbage.

And before you get on a horse of any height, I’ve argued before that good writing can (and should) be used in all cases – high literature or the latest thriller/romance/sci fi/fantasy epic. It may make me sound [insert description of your choice – the words ‘old’ and ‘fart’ will probably be included if you lack imagination], but I happen to believe that writers (as well as agents and editors) have a duty to see that only work of quality gets put out before the public. It is what makes writers worth supporting.

You will only ever get that far, however, if you write. Stop aspiring (a fancy word for daydreaming without intent) and get on with it. Now.

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