this will sound harsh but you’re probably not a writer.
writer’s writer every day. it’s ok, not everyone is.
but if you consider yourself one, get off your ass and get back to work!! write about why you haven’t been writing . anything. just write.
"Writers block for six or seven years." What a doofus.
(Beg to differ but) writing shouldn’t be forced, it should come naturally. As a writer myself, there have been weeks, months that I could not produce anything at all—that seemed sufficient enough to my level of satisfaction, so I’d constantly scrap it. However, after those weeks/months of absolutely nothing, when I least expect it suddenly I find myself writing the most profound words out of nowhere. Someone that has writer block for 6-7 years may go crazy trying to search for inspiration, when instead inspiration would find them when they stop looking. This may be controversial but it doesn’t make sense to put a timeline on how often someone writes before they are considered a ‘writer’.
writing is a discipline, a practice, a religion …
i would love to consider myself all kinds of things but unless i’m actually actively doing them i am probably kidding myself.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.- STEPHEN KING
Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. - RAY BRADBURY
Brian is right.
Brian is being far more diplomatic about this than I would ever be.
The excuse of waiting for inspiration leads to exactly what is described; 6 to 7 years of producing nothing. This is the difference between being a writer and someone who likes to write.
A writer fucking writes. Whether she likes it or not, whether she wants to or not, whether she’s inspired or not. She pushes the boulder, like Sisyphus, until the damn thing rolls or shatters or reverses and crushes her. But she doesn’t sit there and wait until it feels good or it feels right or until the stars are right or anything else. Writing takes discipline infinitely more than it takes talent. That’s the dirty little secret of being a writer. You want to be a writer? Put your ass in the chair and put in your 10,000 hours and your 100,000 pages and then you’ll be a writer.
And yes, I know how harsh this sounds. I know what it sounds like. But it’s the difference between being a writer and simply being someone who feels good about putting their words down when they feel it.
If you want to argue that waiting is necessary, it’s what’s required, then I would offer you’re making excuses for why you’re not writing.
Writing isn’t a profession and it isn’t a hobby. It’s a fucking debilitating illness. It’s an addiction. You either write or you don’t. But you don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. It’s a craft, and you hone it, the way you would hone any other craft — by doing it.
Now get the hell off my lawn.
Afraid they’re right. If it’s been seven years and you haven’t even thought of another excuse yet, you’re not exactly creative.
I agree with Bendis, and it’s been cool to watch this argument play out, but I don’t know that I have it in me to tell anyone that they’re not a writer. He did it as softly as possible and he even left a window open, so the original poster can still get out and write, but still.
What if someone had said that to me at some point, maybe when I was 18 or 19 and thinking about writing but also feeling super vulnerable about it? Maybe vulnerable enough that if one of my favorite comics writers of all time had said “You’re probably not a writer,” the small part of me that was stupid and deluded enough to think what I was writing deserved to be read died? If Bendis (or, hell, maybe anyone) told 18-year-old Daniel “You’re not a writer,” maybe I’d believe him, because at 18 you’re so desperate to figure out who you are or what you aren’t that the idea of outsourcing that identity job to someone else with authority is kind of appealing. And then maybe I’d never write anything. And I’d just be sad forever without knowing why.
I don’t think writers are a special class of people that think about things deeper or feel things harder. I don’t like talking about writing like it’s an illness or addiction or a calling or a burden or a gift or anything else that could be considered a “thing,” like there’s any magic to it. I know what I think, and I have a lot of personal writing rules but I don’t like talking about them, because the second I commit to saying “Being a writer means [X]” is the second I create an opportunity to destroy another potential writer. It’s opening a window for some vulnerable 17-year-old somewhere to say “Wait, I like writing but I don’t do (or have) [X]… I guess that means I’m not a writer.” I don’t want to do that, because I don’t think discouraging people from writing will make my work or the collective works of the world any better. There is absolutely no merit in making writing an exclusive club, regardless of how many writers want that.
One thing I will say, something I’ve noticed, for whatever that’s worth, is that there’s a rebelliousness to writing. You’re writing because the thing you want to read doesn’t exist yet, which to me always meant that you’re saying “No, it’s not that way, it’s THIS way. Here, let me show you.” That’s rebellious.
Again I don’t know if that’s true, and if you want to be a writer but you don’t feel any rebelliousness inside you at all, just ignore me, because I’m probably wrong and you’re doing just fine. But I hope it’s true. I hope that if someone told me at 18 that I wasn’t or would never be a writer I would have said “Fuck you, you’d better not die before my first book comes out because it’s going to be dedicated to you, you arrogant dope, and I’m going to get started right this god damn second, the protagonist’s name is ‘Chode’ and he’s inspired by you, ‘Chapter One: You Suck, Chode.’”
It’s why I hope that the poster above sees Brian Michael Bendis say “You’re probably not a writer” and gives the silent response of a really great book someday.
Man this is great and I like it.
Writing isn’t a club. There is no “you must be this published to ride” sign. And I know that when people say “I’m a writer”, what they generally mean is “writing is my job; I intend to create books and/or get paid to write” but all writing is writing.
We are all writers. Some of us write more than others. Some of us write better than others - let’s be brutally honest about that one. This isn’t to demean the achievements of the brilliantly, heartbreakingly, beautifully talented people who write things that change the world. But publishing is an industry and it’s not for everyone. Just because you give up the dream of being on a bestseller list doesn’t mean you have to give up the words.
Some of us write for a living. Some of us will foster the stories in our hearts and share them with only a few people, or write them collaboratively with many people across this brilliant, beautiful world wide web, and some of us will scream them out for the whole world and never be heard. Some of us will write whatever will give us a paycheck because it’s an ugly world and you do what you have to.
And every time I hear someone say “I haven’t written anything in years” I want to tell them but you have. You write every day. You’re writing now. You are taking words and making meaning out of them.
You are a writer because you want to be.