You need to know a few things before you fully accept and sign the contract of bending your will to the Writer Gods that will forever entrap your mind, body and fine spirits.
First, the from-the-heavens call for inspiration may not siren-song its way into your morning every day. You'll face days if not weeks of Damn, when will the muse come a-callin? Sorry to be so blunt, but there's no bloody muse. It's just butt in the seats, it's just hard work. Every day. Seth Godin believes there's no such thing as writer's block; just a fear of work being shit and bad habits. I heartily agree: Don't wait for revelations to strike you and instead pump out that crap first draft.
Second, you needo thustle. You need to be bustling. And another rhyming word, why not?, is muscle. Hustle, bustle, muscle. You need to move quick to find other ways to support yourself while you get down to the busy work of writing creatively. That could mean finding a career in writing, maybe even technical writing, or you could work in a completely unrelated field but one that still gratifies you.
Bustling means not staying static, not staying still. I mean: Write in different places, place yourself in new environments. I always like a change of setting when I write, even though there is comfort in routine. Some writers only like to write at 5am before they go to work, at their desk. Others prefer the same coffee-shop table, every day. I think it's healthier to be open to places that could invigorate your writing brain, such as a new cafe on the other side of town, or a writing retreat so you can focus without the usual distractions.
Muscle is all about exercising that muscle. Every day. Writing every. Single. Day. You don't have to produce exquisite jewels of poetry and prose every sit-down. Look at this exercise as working out: You might not bench-press 200 lbs every time you hit the gym, but instead try more toning reps. Either way, your muscle is flexing and staying active, and so should your writing muscle.
Third, to be a writer you need to love language. That might sound obvious, but I know many writers who aren't devoted to learning more about English, its roots, how to expand their vocabularies, how to find refreshing ways to express themselves. Writers need to love language like musicians need to adore music. Know your tools because you need to know the rules before you break them.
I'm always open to answer anyone's questions about the writing life, so drop me a line here or tweet at me via @SilverbergDave
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Media criticism. Poetry. Theatre. Toronto. Technology. Travel. Sports. Why X-Files rocks.