Real Writers Get With The Program

It would be very cool to be a real writer. I experience the creations of
people who are and I usually canít get enough. Once I get started, I canít
quit. They draw me in and there is no letting go until they turn me loose,
satisfied and wondering how they do it. Itís amazing.

I suspect itís a little like singing. I donít know anyone who canít sing.
Even I can sing. The difference is somewhere between singing and being a
real singer. There is a point in there where it isnít just singing anymore.
Itís music.

Thatís the way it is with writing. It somehow moves past writing and becomes
a novel or a poem or an article. Itís alive and out there, full of energy
and meaning. It tugs at your heart. It causes a shiver down your back. It
gets you to thinking thoughts youíve never thought before. It makes you
smile. It makes you frown. It gets you up-and-moving. Itís alive and has
inserted itself into your world without so much as a please or thank you.

I certainly donít want to mislead you. You may be getting the impression
that Iíve merely been sitting around hoping and wishing. Nope. Iíve been
hard at it. Well, maybe not as hard at it as a real writer but Iíve been
clicking those computer keys for many years.

Itís not like I get up every morning and chain myself to the keyboard until
Iíve produced a thousand words or even a dozen words. I am more of a potato
chip kind of guy. Thatís someone who nibbles now and then and occasionally
stuffs down half a bag. In a good week, a lot of words flow into the
computer and out of the printer but most weeks itís not worth mentioning.

Real writers are dedicated to their craft. They are self-disciplined. They
write an article a week or maybe one every day. They write a book a year and
maybe two or three. Iím very serious when I tell you that I think that would
be very cool.

It would be at least as cool as being a real singer or a real artist or a
real whatever. There are those special people who are world-class at what
they do. Writers are among my favorite examples of such perfection.

I have spent a lot of time and energy over the years practicing writing. I
was told when I was young that practice makes perfect so I keep practicing.
I keep working at it. I write and read and then I try it the other way
around, I read and write.

Okay. You got me there. Itís the potato chip thing. I likely donít write and
read with enough self-discipline and consistent attention to the task at
hand. I just keep on nibbling and occasionally wolfing down half a bag when
I canít resist the urge. I need to get with the program, equal amounts of
writing and reading, every day. Thatís the minimum commitment required to be
a real writer.

What do you think? Is there any hope for those of us who canít get with the
program and if we do get with it for a while, we backslide? I got to
thinking about this today when I was supposed to be writing or reading or
doing something else that confirms how productive and self-disciplined I am.
Itís not that I spend all of my time pondering these types of important
questions. I do write now and then, between important thoughts and whatever
else I find to do to avoid becoming a real writer. Itís just that I canít
quite find the key to the perfection they told me that practice would

What will it take to become a real writer? I donít know yet but I keep
thinking about it. As I pondered that today, I figured out that I have made
it up to a million published words and still donít know what it takes to be
a real writer. Yep, thatís about a hundred articles and columns, a dozen or
so books for adults and three for children, and even a few training manuals.

I write better today than I did when I started, way back then, a million
words ago. Maybe by the time I get another million words on down this
writing road, Iíll figure it out. Now that would be very very cool. Perhaps
you will decide to join me in my journey. We can write a little, read a
little, and maybe even stop to munch on a bag of chips as we think those
important thoughts that are so interesting when we donít quite find the
self-discipline to get with the program.
By Gary Crow August 20, 2017