I had a conversation recently with someone about how I can write everyday for at least an hour a day if not more. I gave a simple answer of dedication and desire. I then talked with my wife about our difference in the way we prioritize our writing and why it is so different. In thinking this over a lot, I’ve come to a conclusion.
There is a difference between being a good writer and being a great writer.
Good writers are people who write for the fun of it, recreational writing if you will. These people sit down to write for short periods of time every once when time allows. Some of these people have hopes and dreams of making it big with their stories or poems, but they are held back by a variety of reasons, most of which you can file under “life getting in the way.” There is always another chore to get done, another diaper to change, another pet that needs affection, or another oil change to get done on the car. With busy lives, good writers have difficulties getting into the zone to write and keep writing for a long period of time. Sometimes stuff distracts them or they need the perfect quite zone in order to write. Writing ends up getting put lower on the priority list.
Great writers are people who write for the love of it. These are people who actively work to carve out time in their day to write. Those dishes? Well, they can wait an hour until a scene is finished. That oil change you’ve been needing? You get up an hour earlier and take care of that and while they change your oil, you pop out your laptop, notebook, or tablet and hammer out that complex emotional scene between your main hero and the villian. A great writer doens’t put their writing at the middle or the bottom of their priority list. It is near the top, just after saving the cat from your three year old who wants to dress the poor feline in baby clothes. Yes life is busy and yes life gets in the way sometimes, but great writers find a way to write anyway, anywhere, and anyhow. It is the determination, the love, and the desire to see their craft grow and get better that drives them in hopes that one day they will see their dreams realized in a shiny new book published by a company that decided to give you a chance.
Now you can be a great writer of content and just not have the time to write a lot. It happens. As I said before, life gets in the way. For me, however, that only makes you a good writer. You will be stuck in first gear along the highway of being an author. You might eventually get there, but it will be a long and challenging drive. A great writer, to me, is someone who constantly writes everyday to improve their writing. Writing is one of those things that only gets better if you do it a lot and constantly, kind of like body building. Your story is a muscle and if you don’t excerise it hard and constantly, it will not grow to what it could be.
So this blog is a little bit of tough love on the subject of writing. The point is, be a great writer, not a good one. Write. Write with all of the passion that you know you have and you will be great.