Quit Aspiring · 16 July 2022
If I was going to give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, it would be: “Quit aspiring to be a writer and just be a writer.”
I used to aspire to be a writer. Which just meant that I thought about being a writer. A best-selling author. Outstanding in my field. What I realized was that all that daydreaming was just that. Daydreaming.
Now daydreaming is not a bad thing in and of itself. It is bad when that is all you do. But it is okay when it turns into action. And it is even better when that action turns into results. Which is not to say that results, any results, are all that matter.
When we go through any process, we have results. Those results might be positive, negative, or even neutral. But we get results. Sometimes, even tangible results.
I like to think of the negative results as just falling down. And falling brings the opportunity to get back up again. How we react to any failure or setback is important in every aspect of our lives. Like they say, “Failure’s not failure unless it’s the last time you’re going to try.” Get back in the saddle one more time. (Sorry for the trite idioms.)
I think that same reaction could be used for neutral results. Try, try again. And again. And again. And again. You get the picture.
Of course, everybody likes the positive results. We like when we finish a blog post. Or publish a book. Or any of those things we do when writing. But even when we get positive results we need to keep working. We need to get better. We can relish the moment, but we still need to get back in the saddle. We still need to do more.
Which brings me back to the beginning.
I do not know why people aspire to be writers. They can just be writers. Period. You can be a writer, if that is what you choose to be. You just need to write. And write. And write. Give up those excuses. There should be nothing holding you back. Every writer can have a platform these days. You can blog for free. You can publish a book for free. You can even put out demo tapes of your lyrics for free these days. You can put your writing out there for all to see on this newfangled thing called the internet. So quit aspiring to be a writer. Just be a writer.
(By the way, I can admonish people to just be writers because others admonished me to just be a writer. Thanks for that push.)
When I was younger. I wanted to be a writer. A best-selling author. I said I was an aspiring writer because I wrote essays and poems every once in a while. I wrote on those rare occasions when I was inspired. So I said I wanted to be a writer. I dreamed that I was a writer. But I never did much work to become a writer.
Today, I am a writer. I do not really know how many people have read what I have written, but that does not matter. I write as if everybody reads my stuff. Okay. That is a lie. I write as if a few people read my stuff.
Which brings me to the question of why I think people strive to be writers. Or strive to be anything.
People aspiring to be writers tend to get stuck on the philosophical question: “Is a writer a writer if nobody reads?” Which is actually the same philosophical question about sound. “If a tree falls in the woods, but nobody hears, does it make a sound?” The answer is: Of course it does! Sound is a physical manifestation of the tree hitting the ground. Even if the ground is soft, the tree still makes some sort of sound. The same is true of writers. If a writer writes, but nobody reads, the writer is still a writer! So quit dreaming of being a writer. Quit aspiring to be a writer. Just answer the question and write. Write all the time. Then, you will be a writer. Regardless of whether anybody reads what you write.
I do not know how many people read my blog. I do not know how many people have read any of my twenty (and still counting) digital books (ad) or one print on demand book. I do not know if anybody has listened to any of the few songs I have out on the internet. But it does not matter. Just like the tree makes a sound whether or not anybody hears it falling in the woods, I am a writer because I write, whether or not anybody reads a word.
Which is the whole point. If I can do it you can do it. So if you are an aspiring writer (or aspiring anything), quit aspiring. Just be a writer.
© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi
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