Courtesy floating robes
Courtesy Floating Robes

I’m going to tell you a secret. You might already know what I’m going to say, but it’ll be said anyway, as it needs to be repeated.

Come on, get closer. Don’t be shy.

You ready?

Here it is:

Being a writer is not about publication.

Being a writer is about one thing, and one thing only: writing.

To be a writer, you must write. What is a fighter who does not fight? What is a designer who does not design? It’s less about what these labels mean to the outside world, and more about what they mean to the individual. It’s important to do what motivates and drives us, even if it doesn’t immediately turn a profit or satisfy a client. As Howard Thurman put it (and I’m paraphrasing), “the world needs people who come alive.”

So you need to write. You need to write whenever you can. And you even need to write when you can’t.

This last part may seem confusing, but consider the following scenario. It’s been a long day. Maybe you commute to and from a dayjob, maybe you maintain a household, maybe you have studies that consume most of your time. None of these things are bad. But these things are not writing. And they can sap your energy and your will to be productive.

It’s times like these you simply need to keep writing.

Jot down notes by hand. Cram a line in here and there on coffee and lunch breaks. Carve time out of the mornings and evenings, in bloody chunks if you have to, so you can write more. Convert some of the time in which you “can’t” write into moments where you deliver the facts, breathe life into characters, or open up a new world for readers to explore.

It’s a lot like physical fitness. The more you do it, and the more you work to establish a routine, the more it becomes a part of your life and the harder it is for you to quit. And if I had one true piece of advice, one thing that I know from experience that can be applied to the lives of others, it’s this:

Don’t quit.

Please don’t quit.

The world needs people who come alive.

The world needs you, whether it knows it or not.