Raise your hand if you’re an aspiring writer.
I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. You’re not an aspiring writer. You are a writer.
What does aspire mean? “To seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal. From Latin aspirare, literally, to breathe upon.”
I see you over there, in the corner, breathing onto your laptop.
“Shhh…I’m aspiring over here.”
No you’re not. You’re writing.
If you have, at one point, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and written something – a poem, a short story, a screenplay, the first chapter to the next great American novel, you are, in fact, a writer.
Now, if you haven’t, if you’re still just breathing on the paper, but not putting anything on it, then, I guess, technically you’re an aspiring writer. But that’s okay. The great thing about writing is all you need is that pen and paper or that keyboard. There should be very little, if anything, physically holding you back.
Now, you might say that I’m stupid for that whole breathing thing. You might be thinking “I really AM an aspiring writer. I want to write the next Harry Potter or Twilight or On the Road or Catcher in the Rye.”
And that’s great. It’s great to have those goals. But let’s go back to the definition of aspire. To seek to accomplish a particular goal. You are an aspiring best-selling author, which is something altogether different.
It means you’re serious about this whole writing thing. It means that you’re not just going to mess around, but that you’re going to take your craft and make it into something people will pay you money to read.
And that’s awesome. You need to have goals, whatever they may be. But that’s just it, The goals are the finish line, and you’re never going to reach them if you don’t pick up that pen.
So just write.
Some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying “Ok, we get it, can you move on to the next visual?”
The answer is yes.
This is me and my two sons at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con. The lady we’re with is comic book writer Gail Simone, who has written tons of comics, including characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Deadpool, etc. (My kids are obviously impressed) And this is right before I turned to her and asked if she had any advice for an aspiring comic book writer.
I’m pretty sure I even used those exact words.
I’m not even going to make an excuse for myself. The point is, the second you make that effort and start writing, You’ve changed into a writer, so don’t sell yourself short.
The reason I’m spending so much time on this is I’ve heard so many times from friends. “Oh, that’s cool you wrote a book. I wish I could.” Like it’s some magical fairytale thing that I somehow managed to do and that they’d never be able to.
But it’s not magic, it’s just a matter of working hard.
So stop aspiring. Start writing. And if you’ve already started, keep writing.
I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds.