“10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
“Writing like this is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.”
“But in the wake of 'Bullet,' all the guys wanted to know was, 'How's it doing? How's it selling?' How to tell them I didn't give a flying f*$% how it was doing in the marketplace, that what I cared about was how it was doing in the reader's heart?”
My goal is 25 blogs a month. That’s a good goal, but there’s nothing that says I can’t exceed that goal. My real goal is to write. Steven Pressfield and Michael Masterson write for three or four hours a day. I tell myself that that’s my dream, so now, while I have the time and nothing is really pressing, there’s no reason to not write.
It’s funny, though not in a humorous way, how many thoughts suddenly start intruding when I sit down to write. Suddenly I find myself “wondering and waiting and worrying about some silly little things that don’t add up to nothing,” as Tom Petty puts it in Here Comes My Girl. Suddenly I start notice things that need cleaning or organizing. Suddenly I am aware of doubts and fears that weren’t there before I started writing.
Mixed in with all the useless fears are some legitimate concerns:
· Do I have what it takes to be a writer?
· Do I have the talent?
· Do I have the self-discipline to really write without interruption for three or four hours?
· Can I continue getting up early and writing every morning?
· Can I ever become the man who writes these words?
· Should I clean my place? Pressfield says that I should have a clean place so that “the Muse doesn’t spoil her gown.”
· If I give into that distraction, what other distraction will present itself?
No, I’m going to keep writing. Why?
I’m writing because I love to write. There are few things more freeing, more instructive than writing. There are few things more therapeutic. This, more than just about anywhere else, is where I belong. This is where I become the man I am supposed to be. I should have been doing this years ago. I don’t know how I missed this for so long. It’s been right in front of me most of my life. I don’t know how I missed it. It doesn’t matter.
In my previous blog, I mentioned that one day we will be accountable for the resources we misused or squandered. But I think there’s a way to escape that.
The minute I began writing my first blog, my life changed. It was that quick and simple. The details didn’t change immediately, but my life changed in an instant. Just like that. My old life had ended. It was over. I didn’t realize it, but the moment I wrote my first sentence, my new life began. To use the words of Jesus, I was “born again.” I had given my life to God, again, just as I had when I was 17. This was a different kind of rebirth though.
I think we all need rebirths on a regular basis. It is said that every seven years we have a completely new skin. Old cells die and new ones appear. I think our spirits need to go through this, too. It’s interesting that God took six days to create the world. He’s God. He could have done it all in an instant, but He did it gradually, in stages, building on the previous day. He took His time, not because He had to, but because He was showing us that creativity can be a growth process. Yes, ideas can come in an instant. But the development usually takes a little longer.
I’ve noticed my own growth as a writer and as a human being since my rebirth started. One of the results is that my life is simplifying. The more I write, the more I realize that there are fewer and fewer things I want or need. I want to be with the people I love. I want to study. And I want to write. I also want to make money, but only so I can do the more important things in my life. Most other things just feel like distractions. This may be why I all but stopped buying comic books. I still enjoy them, but I just don’t want to spend my time or money there. It’s why I didn’t see a movie last night. (Well, that and the $12.50 ticket price.) I would have enjoyed the movie, but I wanted to use my time differently.
I think if I could leave only one message to the world, it would be this:
Find the things you love to do and do them as often and as long as possible. In this way, you will find God, presence, peace, love and your true self.
Or as I’ve said so many times, Get Started and Keep Going.