“I want to write” — those four words are one of the occupational hazards of professional journalists.
We get that all the time, in mails, in social gatherings, wherever — someone coming up to us and saying he or she wants to write, and could we please help.
What they mean, more often than not, is “I’d like to have your job — writing whatever you like, and getting published and paid for it, and having fans and all that good stuff.”
I’m not dissing those who say they want to write, and ask for advice. I get my share of those in mail, and try to respond as constructively as I possibly can. PD James however makes my point for me:
Don’t just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.
Exactly. You want to write? Then do just that — write. Even a decade earlier, you could claim there was a lack of “opportunity” — by which you meant, no one is willing to publish my masterpieces.
Not any more — today, you can create your own opportunities. Start a blog, and use that to publish your writing, to find your voice, to test it against the whetstone of instantaneous public criticism and thus to hone it to a fine edge.
Oh, and whatever you do — don’t do this.
Have a good weekend, you guys. See you Monday.