Thought for Day 21: Needs

This thought is connected to the one that came before it.

You have what you need right now to make the current “play” for the game.

I think a lot of us avoid trying to reach our writing dreams because we think we aren’t equipped with what we need to be a writer.

If you’re writing, you’re a writer.

That aside, a writer does have needs.  Right now, you have what you need to fulfill your needs.  Dizzy?  Here is what I mean.

a. A writer needs time to write.

Maybe you don’t have time to write at this second.  Maybe you have just enough time to plan when you’re going to write next.  Do that.  And when it comes time to write, do that.

b. A writer needs to learn how to write professionally if he or she wants publications.

There are rules about publishing.  If you don’t know how to punctuate dialogue the way editors want it punctuated, your story is going to get tossed out of the slush pile and into a trash can.  You have to learn that rule and others, proofread your work, and make it professional. There are books that will teach you how to do this.  There are graduate writing programs.  There are conferences.  If you’re serious about your writing, you will go after this knowledge.  But not having the knowledge doesn’t mean you don’t have what you need to get it.  The knowledge is out there.  Start asking around.  You have what you need to start getting that knowledge right now.  Do it.

c. A writer needs community.

Part of that is because of the previous point–you need people who will help bring your writing up to a professional level.  Part of it is because the world outside of your writing world doesn’t give a care at all whether or not you write today.  In fact, the people who love you the most don’t care if you write today (unless they spend enough with you to know how evil and crazy you become after three days of neglecting your writing). Honestly, and sorry if this sounds elitist–most of the world doesn’t really care much about literature.  Part of the reason you’re a writer is because you do care. This makes you odd.  Find other people who love literature. They are out there, and there is a ton of them.

A community will reinstate your love for what you do and give it purpose.  You might need to go back to school in order to get a community.  You might have to search around on the internet for some kind of online community.  Search for it, though.  There are communities all over.

When I lived in Bangkok, I found it to be a place where it was harder for me to access a writing community than, say, Detroit.  I could have done that, though, if I had searched, because there are writing communities in Bangkok.  I had what I needed, though; the online writing community helped my writing improve a lot.  It got me ready for my graduate writing programs, which was the next level.

d. A writer needs to read.

You’re online. You have plenty of stuff to read just because you are sitting at your computer.  Read literary magazines online.  Read forums for writers, writers’ blogs that discuss what they are reading at that moment.  Listen to Michael Silverblatt’s show on KCRW called Bookworm.  That will help you figure out what to read.

Bottom line: know what your needs are. Also, know you have everything you need right now to get what you will need next, step by step.

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