If you’re aspiring to be a writer, write. Call yourself a writer, be a professional, don’t wait for inspiration. A pro is someone who doesn’t wait for inspiration, they write because it’s an obligation.
It’s the same with cycling or any sport. If you’re a cyclist, you cycle. Without complaint, without consideration, without permission. You get up, and go.
Too often we wait for permission before choosing ourselves, we avoid a label because we feel like an imposter.
Writers write. So if you want to be a writer, write today, then again tomorrow, and call yourself a writer. Be a pro. Be consistent.
One critical aspect of this is ‘the practice’. Let go of the quality a little. Perfection is the death of done. I’m writing this wretched post right now because I’m a writer, I don’t wait for the inspiration, I have to do it, it’s in my contract.
It’s also in the spirit of kaizen. One small meaningful change at a time. If you write a little bit every day, eventually you’ll have a book. If you cycle a bit every day, eventually you’ll be fit. The surprising thing is that it’s far easier to do something every day than to do it now and again. It’s easier to avoid all bad food for a month than it is to avoid some bad food.
Currently I’m on holiday and my practice is daily writing, daily exercise, brazilian jiu jitsu 4 days a week. Almost every day I don’t want to do any of these, there a seemingly a million legitimate reasons why I can skip this day.
But I can’t. It’s in the contract. It’s the practice.
If you just turn up, you’ve won. If you hit submit, put on your running shoes, turn up to the dojo, you’ve won. Forget about the quality. You don’t have a quality issue, you have a turning up issue.
Drew Dernavich, a cartoonist for The New Yorker recently posted an instagram pic of his “no” pile. All the rejected cartoons. The no pile is at least 10 times bigger. I find this in my own blogging. For every 10 posts I write maybe one I think is good. However, this 1 good one would not exist without the other 9 bad ones.
The practice is the reward. It’s the only way.
Chop wood. Carry water.