- Pretend that you are already a Writer. Procrastinate doing any actual Writing, and instead practice telling people that you are a Writer, imagine writing your way to the New York Times Bestseller List, and plan your appearance on the Today Show. Mindlessly Google topics like “Tips for Successful Blogging”, and “How to Know If You Are Really A Writer”, as well as TED Talks featuring your favorite Writers. When you tire of this, leave your house to get a coffee, resolving to casually identify yourself as a Writer to anyone who asks. (Predictably, no one does.)
- Set up your blog page. Use skills gleaned in step #1 to construct “About” and other pages so that they appear to be written by and to accurately describe a real Writer. Plan to have a new profile picture taken, one which accurately reflects your casual and self-assured Writer persona and in which you may be wearing glasses. Resolve to have this photo taken at your Writing Desk in your Writing Office, once you have magically found either or both of those things somewhere in your house.
- Write blog post, sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings, secure in the knowledge that your writing voice needs to be Honest, Authentic, and Relatable to Connect with your Readers and ultimately Be Successful. Should this confidence falter, remind yourself that, as a Writer, you are really writing for the Craft itself, and Because You Must!, and not because you need people to like it or even to read it. (With this in mind, consider referring to your “Craft” more frequently in conversation, as standoffish writers and hoity-toity actresses are prone to do, so that you sound more convincingly Artistic and Legit.)
- Publish blog post and Feel the Rush! as you put your Writing (which is really yourself) out there in the world. Enjoy the heady anticipation of how much your Readers are going to like it (you) and enjoy it (you), as it is (you are) Honest, Authentic, and Very Relatable! Rethink outfit for Today Show.
- Check in with your Readers. After 10-15 minutes—which, you figure, is plenty of time for your loyal Readers to notice your post, immediately drop what they are doing, read your piece in its entirety, wipe their tears, share it, and send you glowing feedback—check your stats to see how many shares, likes, and views your post has, and whether it has already Gone Viral. (Not that it really matters to a you as a real Writer, because of course it does not.)
- Check social media platforms to be sure the post has actually published correctly, in light of the number of shares, likes, and views, or, more accurately, the lack thereof. (Predictably, it has.)
- Sit down. It is best to sit down when you begin to feel the familiar nausea, headache, and dizziness that indicate the start of a vulnerability hangover. Begin a cycle of intense anxiety and regret regarding the length of the piece, the tone of the piece, the content of the piece, and/or the quality of the piece, as well as many other of your writing and life choices.
- Stand up and walk around. Pace nervously as you ruminate on the likelihood that your friends and family and random Facebook followers—basically everyone you know-—are now collectively rolling their eyes about the ill-advised, weekly annoyance that is your self-involved, irrelevant, and poorly-written blog. Ask yourself “What You Were Thinking?” and “Why Would Anyone Want To Read That?” and also “Who In the Hell Do You Think You Are?” in a loop. Wonder how you could have ever thought for one second that it would be ok to refer to a “Craft” in conversation. Practice deep breathing. Walk away from computer and run an errand, take a walk, or find other distraction from growing neurosis. (More coffee is not recommended at this juncture.)
- Receive one heartfelt message, either in person or online, about something that you once wrote, and how it resonated with them. Remember then that it is Connection which feels most to you like Being Successful, and is the whole reason you wanted to be a Writer in the first place.
4 thoughts on “How to be a Writer, in 10 easy steps”
So funny! Substitute “paint” for “write” and there I am!
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If only I could write like you paint, girlfriend!
Beth, I really enjoyed this post and smiled knowingly many times. When I started my first blog (http://habitualgratitude.blogspot.com) over five years ago, it was a real leap of faith. I found myself looking for followers and comments and it was taking the joy out of the writing. Letting go of expectations really helps. I especially appreciate that blogging helps me focus my writing, and so does my daily gratitude journal. I appreciate the saying “Real writers really write.” I meet that criteria and so do you. Onward and thanks!
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Lisa, your knowing encouragement is right on time! Thanks a million. We’ll press on!