It's amazing how many posts I see on forums that basically state—directly or indirectly—"tell me how to be a writer". Tell me how to formulate my thoughts into written words. Tell me how to write grammatically, with proper punctuation and spelling. Tell me how to come up with ideas.

I know that all writers have to start somewhere. But, my goodness. What did people do before the Internet?

I'll tell you, because I started writing back before even Gopher was around. You read books. Lots and lots of books. Everything that interested you. Books on writing, if you could find them. But mostly the type of stuff you wanted to write. Eventually, if you read enough, and emulated enough, and practiced enough, the basics of writing would sink through your pores and into your brain and come back out through your pen.

Can anyone learn to write well? Yes, I believe so. Some people are born with the ability to transfer their thoughts to the written word with ease, with their own voice and magical flow already in place. Most of us, though, have to work at it. We spend years perfecting our skills, and even when we're good, we can still be better. But that's the key: WORK.

Jumping online, Googling "writing" and posting questions on a forum for people to teach you all about writing is not WORK. It's a shortcut.

WORK is spending time learning how to write instead of assuming you already know how. It's brushing up on grammar, how to form sentences, how to use punctuation. It's learning how to read like a writer, objectively, analytically. It's understanding that writing is an art and a skill that needs to be honed and nourished, and knowing that if you want to be a writer, YOU need to do the WORK.


TOPAZ status: Just finished Chapter 30 this morning. I think I have about three chapters left. That's...kind of scary.