Being a writer is not easy. I’m not talking about the craft. Writing as a craft is a skill you can hone if you practice and put a lot of effort into it. It’s easy to nurture and develop if you work on good routines and techniques. Of course, it takes time but you know what I mean.
What I’m talking about, though, is the state of being a writer. It’s definitely not easy. That is because it depends on your mindset for it to work.
I see a lot of people saying they’re “aspiring writers”. And some aspiring writers quit writing because, at some point, they think of themselves as frauds. There’s a limbo between wanting to be and stop believing when you do that. The impostor syndrome speaks louder in our heads. We can’t let that happen.
Yesterday, I wrote about talents, and just the thought of being a fraud when you might have a great talent, just the thought of quitting because you think you’re not capable of achieving your dreams, it all just sounds the same as burying your talents to me.
Now, why does it happen? Why do we quit? Is it fear? Lack of patience? Comparisons to others? Obstacles? All of them together?
If it’s fear…
What are you afraid of? Being called a bad writer? Have you ever seen the very first work of every great writer in history? Their first scribbles ware crap. That poem they wrote in the dark when the spark of being a writer lit for the first time in their brains, it was crap. Some of them even served raw meat as it was because they just couldn’t wait until they were “ready”. It was crap and they never quit making their best in their next attempt. And even being crap, some people like it. So… why fear?
Do not fear.
Lack of patience?
Writing takes time. Remember school? You couldn’t even write your name without inverting letters, without missing something. Your words were too big, clumsy, not at all aligned with other words, you had no idea about space between them. And now, well, you might still have the worst handwriting in the world but at least you can spell the words you know. Can’t you? Practice took you to where you are right now. Reading made you learn. Writing takes time.
So, be patient.
Do you compare yourself to others?
Why? You’re not happy with who you are? You don’t believe in yourself?
I love Matthew McConaughey’s speech when we won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2014. One of the things he said was that he couldn’t live without having a hero to chase, someone he wanted to be like. But he breaks the cliché by saying that that hero is always himself ten years from now. And after ten years, it’s still gonna be himself ten years in the future.
He’s always chasing his better self. That’s what he means. Always projecting his work now, in the present, to become that hero that evolved so much during those ten years of hard work. And when he gets there, he knows that there’s a new work to be done. A new adventure. A new set of goals and achievements to be proud of.
So, if you compare yourself to others, you will always do this, and you’ll never be yourself. You might even forget who you are, or who you really want to become ten years from now.
Instead of looking what others are doing or what they achieved, start doing your best to become something you’d be proud of and that you’d chase if you looked at that person ten years later.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Alright, alright, alright?
Jump them. Move them. Kick them. We humans see a huge mountain on the way, what we do? We build tunnels! We see rivers in the middle of the road. What do we do? We build bridges! We build. We deal with it. If we can’t move the obstacle, do we stop in front of it and wait until it moves alone? No, we make a detour.
It’s all about the mindset…
One of the amazing people of the Beardy community on Instagram asked me “When do you know you’re a writer?” I tell you. When you start calling yourself one.
- When you see fear, and say, “I’m writer, I’m not afraid.”
- When you have patience, and say, “I’m a writer, I’m gonna write something every day to hone my talent, even if it’s crap, and I’m gonna read every day to learn how to write better.”
- When you don’t compare yourself to others and just work to become your future self, and you say, “I’m a writer and ten years from now, I’m gonna be proud of what I achieved, even if it was learning how to make myself a better writer ten years from then.”
- Finally, when you see obstacles and bumps on the road and you find a way to keep going no matter what, and you say, “I’m a writer, obstacles are just like conflicts in a hero’s jorney, I solve them at the end of the plot. And if I didn’t solve them yet, it’s because I have more to build.”
A true writer has a mindset of a writer. It can’t be simpler than that. You say, “I’m a f— writer.” And, BOOM, you’re f— writer.
Now, for the comments…
• When do you know you’re a writer?
• What do you want to achieve ten years from now as a writer?