How I Stack Up As A ‘Serious’ Writer

My current "office" - my kitchen table.

As a first step in trying to get myself to write more, I started scouring my favorite writing blogs to find some inspiration on what it means to be a writer, and I came across a post over at Aliventures called 7 Habits of Serious Writers. When I read it, I started to think about how I stack up as a ‘serious’ writer, by her definition. Besides lacking the obvious number one habit – ahem, writing itself – I’m obviously missing a few of the other habits she lists as necessary.

#1: Writing – Obviously, I do not have this hurdle conquered, otherwise I wouldn’t have started a blog to complain about how I never write. But, I am taking the first steps towards getting serious about this writing business, even if it’s starting a blog about not writing. Hey, they say that if you aren’t sure where to begin, start by writing what you know. I’m certainly an expert on being a non-writing writer.

#2: Focus – This one I fail almost as miserably at as I do actually writing. I have always had issues focusing on things for an extended period of time. I struggle with wanting to plan everything out down to every last detail, but lacking the focus to follow through. But again, hopefully by making a habit of writing in a blog as often as I can will start a disciplined habit of focusing on ignoring distractions and – hold on, wait a second, Facebook did what? I’ll be right back.

#3: Reading – Ah, FINALLY a habit I can say that I have pretty much mastered. I love books, and I love reading. I read everything from non-fiction, literary fiction, YA titles, classics, and I even have an obsession with reading old college textbooks when I have 10 minutes to kill. I rarely get rid of a book after I’ve read it and I have a ridiculous number of books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet but am dying to tackle. I can’t help it, I love being surrounded by books. Ali recommends reading half an hour a day – that’s easy for me. So, I’ve got one down. 1 for 3 – that isn’t bad. I’ll take my little victories when I can get them.

#4: Learning – Ali means learning how to write by reading about writing and paying constant attention to improving your work. I don’t think I’m doing too badly at this, either. Granted, I haven’t been writing much the last few years but I’ve certainly been reading about writing and thinking about what makes writing better. Score another one for me.

#5: Redrafting – I’m going to go out on a limb and say that without writing something, you certainly can’t redraft something. So this one is another megafail on my part.

#6: Professionalism – I’m not going to even tackle this one. I’m a writer that has a blog about the fact that I don’t write. I don’t expect anyone to take me seriously.

#7: Reflection – I think she means looking at your goals as a writer and your work as a whole as you hone your craft and trudge away towards your ultimate goal. I’d say I’m an uber-reflective person, and I definitely have goals as far as my writing goes. In fact, I fear that I reflect too much, set too many goals and struggle with actually taking the steps it takes to get to where I want to be. What little writing I actually do I think I reflect on far too much, beating myself up over the details and the fact that it isn’t what I intended, until I scrap it. I could do with a little less reflection in my life. I want to replace it with more action.

I’d say I’m 3 for 7. That isn’t too bad of a place to start, right? Hopefully the rest will come with time. But then again, I’m feeling pretty damn optimistic today. Tomorrow I may want to toss this computer out the door and start looking into joining a cult.