I have carried the idea of being a writer with me for more than 24 years. I wish I could say I have spent most of that time writing. I haven’t.
The problem with the idea of being a writer is that it leads me to the wrong goals. The idea of being a writer gave me the idea of writing a book. Writing a book was hard. I gave up. The idea of being a writer gave me the idea of writing stories. I started dozens but rarely finished them through. I have hundreds of pages stashed away in notebooks — beginnings, middles, riffs and improvisations. A mad jumble of glimpses and intuitions. Characters stillborn. Plots broken.
The idea of being a writer does not move me forward.
The idea of being a writer is a very poor thing to carry for so long. Much better to be a person who writes. Instead of writing a book or a story or this thing or that thing, I am ready to declare a new goal. I am writing to find out if I have talent for this thing that I enjoy and, if I have talent, to find out how far I can carry it.
The stories, the characters, the book are vehicles. They aren’t the thing itself. They are reflections of the thing. The thing is seeing how far I can carry this joy and fear I have inside of me. The thing is seeing how much of this life I have on the inside of me to be seen and real on the outside of me.
I am tired of pondering the idea of being a writer. I am working toward being a person who writes.
Just as reading is its own reward, so writing for its own sake is worthwhile. Writing and publishing are not the same. For your current goal check out the review of Scrivener 2 for the Mac in PC magazine’s August edition. I get PC magazine in electronic form and can show you the article on my tablet. The program looks useful for collecting and combining short elements.