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Get Motivated: What It Means to Be a Writer | #amwriting

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A writer is someone who cannot not write. By “writing” I mean creativing writing, not messages to a friend. It may be useful to think of fiction writing as preparing a gift for a stranger, the unseen reader we hope to please. The definition “a writer is someone who cannot not write” may seem clumsy, but acquaintance will reveal its eccentric virtue. Consider the opposite: a nonwriter is someone who can write or not, who does not have the drive and need to put words to paper.

A writer is someone who looks forward to the day’s work, even if it lasts only an hour or two before the writer has to dash to a job that supports him and his family until such a happy time that the writing itself may be economically rewarding. On those days when external circumstances prevent his writing, a writer feels a hollowness, an absence, a longing. A writer is 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. True, some writers suffer while writing. I regret their pain, and am glad to report that as on masters the craft, the pain ebbs, and the pleasure of being able to control the result can bring the secont-greatest pleasure of life, the creation of text that arouses the emotions of distant readers.

~Sol Stein
How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them
pp. xiv–xv

One Comment
  1. Sunday, May 6, 2018 11:17 pm

    Yay! Sol Stein…book 2 is on my list.


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