I'm speaking to a group of writers this morning. Everyday people who are exploring how writing could be part of their lives. They're not necessarily writers now.
But they can be.
My talk today will not be tips on point of view or plotting. It won't include advice on query letters or agent searches. And it will not focus on researching, editing or marketing.
You probably have these conversations from time to time. After mentioning you're a writer, someone replies, "I've always wanted to write a book."
What do you tell them?
You don't want to discourage them by listing the 87 reasons the writing life is hard. You don't want to overwhelm them with all they have to learn about the craft. You want to encourage them to explore the ways writing can enrich their lives.
So here's what I'm planning to say today.
1. If you write, you are a writer. Don't believe for one second that finishing a book, or getting an article published is "being a writer". You are a writer now--no matter if anyone else is even aware that you write.
2. The more you write, the better you'll get. For a long time I believed that "real writers" were born that way. That writing was only a hobby for me, since I knew my writing had weaknesses. But the truth is, anyone can go from nothing to amazing with some hard work. And each word you write, pushes you farther along that path. You can learn to be a better writer. Really.
3.Your writing is like a time capsule--for you and for future generations. No one has the unique set of life experience that you have, filtered through the exact lenses you use to view and interpret the world. Each story or event you write has a piece of you as an integral part. You're leaving a legacy.
I'm sure there's more, so I'd like to ask: What would you say?