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How NOT to Become a Writer

Updated on September 30, 2009

All play and no work makes Johnny...

Some Habits to Avoid Towards Being an Author

So many people would love to write and make money doing so.  It is the romance of a drink in Cuba in the 1920's, a sip of wine while giving regard to a jazz singer in Paris of 1950, and the far-off look of epiphany that immediately turns into a 2-week writing binge producing a best-seller.  Or better, a classic that will be read for the next 1,000 years.  Then there is the great desire to write even a line as famous and quoted as any of the many that Shakespeare has produced and of which the world has taken careful note.  Today there are not only more people on the planet than ever before, but also more writers and aspiring writers.  It is to this second group that this article is addressed.  


There are a plethora of habits and activities towards becoming a writer.  Beyond the mere desire to be a writer, there are multiple tasks which must be accomplished.  It is this writer's hope that those who aspire to writing are able to find their way as best and promptly as humanly possible.  However, there are numerous habits which fledgeling writers should not pursue, and that is the purpose of this article.   


First, there is that great wooing device, television.  TV has destroyed many talented young writers -not by harming their kidneys or even their eyes, but by drawing them away from the one main task that gives an author this title: the act of writing.  Television will take away a writer's valuable time sketching a plot or great character, and this is the worst "sin" of all.  Further, television, while sometimes showing elevated storylines, normally tends to resort to the fabulous, the pedestrian, or the just plain predictable plot habitated by stereotypes and other worn, colorless characters that have been played by countless generations of actors ad infinitum.  


Another "time sucker" similar to television is the video game.  Addictive, fun, even exciting, video games tend to pull writers away from the task at hand: sitting down, dredging the memory and imagination, and painting it on paper, typewriter (for those who have one), or computer.


Next there is the criteria that so many aspiring writers feel they must pursue to be marked in the ranks of Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, and even Jim Morrison.  This is the use of drugs and alcohol.  While these three writers and others have been almost as famous for their insobriety as for their written work, it is inconclusive to say that alcohol or drugs make for good writers.  If this were so, the world would have many, many more authors, given the number of alcoholics and drug addicts that exist.  No, the two are decidedly unrelated on the whole.  What drugs and alcohol will do for a person, is entrench their bodies (and minds) into infirmity.  You can't write if you are dying or dead.


Hobbies are a wonderful way to fill one's life.  However, if writing is your aspiration, make writing your primary hobby.  If you spend all of your time rock climbing or looking at your stamp collection, this is taking away from your writing.  In a similar vein, there is the consideration of weekends, the time most of us have long stretches of free time.  One of the best ways to avoid being a writer is to remember that weekends are for eating, drinking, playing video games, and just plain lounging.  Not writing.


Finally, if you wish to never become a writer, simply never, ever write.  In whatever else you can find as an excuse to avoid creating new worlds, new lives, and fodder for future publishing, run towards it while ignoring your journal, your paper, your pens, and your computer.  You won't become a writer, but oh, what fun you'll have in the meantime!

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