It’s a Long Road

6 November, 2019

Every would-be writer has a million words of s**t clogging up his system, so it behooves him to get it out as soon as possible. To get to the good stuff.

Mike Baron

You need to face the fact that you’ll write poorly, even badly, when start out on your journey as a writer. You’ll see flashes of the writer you’ll become, but those flashes are fleeting.

You shouldn’t be discouraged. It takes time to learn the craft of writing, to become disciplined, to develop a distinctive style. Blame a lot of that on the million words of s**t clogging up your system. The million words you can’t quite shape in the way you want to.

You’ll find yourself struggling. You’ll find yourself aping, whether deliberately or not, some of the writers you’re reading or who you admire. As you write, as you get that million words of s**t out of your system, you’ll notice a change in your writing. You’ll notice your writing evolving. You’ll notice a shift in tone, in structure, in style.

If you’re doing the job correctly — writing with focus, getting feedback, taking time to learn the rules of writing and how to write properly — you’ll see an improvement in your work. You’ll see and feel yourself growing as a writer. You’ll see your words and the stories you want to tell taking shape in the way you want them to.

But you can’t just blindly and blithely tap out word after word, hoping to become better. That’s like throwing rocks at a target in the dark. You might hit it every so often, but your aim won’t improve beyond a certain point. You need to, as I mentioned a paragraph ago, to write with focus. You need to put in the hours and the effort and the sweat.

Your journey as a writer is a long one. Really, it never ends. The longer you’re on that journey, the more you focus on your goals as a writer, the better you become.

Scott Nesbitt