Monday, May 9, 2011
How Does One Become A Writer?
The famous editor, Sol Stein has a definition of a writer. In How To Grow A Novel, Stein writes:
A writer is someone who looks forward to the day's work. . . a person who knows that whatever one first sets down is a draft, that drafts are palimpsests ready for change the next day and the next day until they can no longer be improved. . .It all starts each day with the necessity of putting words on paper.
Stein's definition is clear and concise. If you want to become a writer you must realize that writing is work; enjoyable, committed, daily work.
In The Complete Guide To Writing Fiction, celebrated sci-fi author, Ray Bradbury states that anyone who wants to become a writer should start by reading. Bradbury compares reading to Cracker Jack: “The more you eat, the more you want.” He writes:
And the more you read, the more the ideas begin to explode around inside your head, run riot, meet head-on in beautiful collisions so that when you go to bed at night the damned visions color the ceiling and light the walls with huge exploits and wonderful discoveries.
What does Bradbury say about the people who found his behavior peculiar during his endeavor to write? “If I had listened to all the tastemongers and fools and critics I would have played a safe game, never jumped the fence, and become a nonentity whose name would not be known to you now.”
In other words, if it is your desire to write, don't let others influence your decision. We all have a unique gift to contribute to the world. We have millions of authors writing every genre imaginable, each one writing from his or her own experiences and desires. Isn't it wonderful to go to the library or the internet and find the variety of books and genres from which to choose.
I'm always open to reading new authors and genres. Why? Because I can learn something new from each of them. Something that will help me to become a better writer.
How did you become a writer? What or who influenced you? I look forward to reading your responses.