Don’t be a Writer, Just Write

William Stafford once wrote, “My aim is not to be a writer, but to write” (from the book Sound of the Ax). I’ve thought of myself as a writer for much of my life. The tricky part is how to make writing, actually writing, the first priority of my life.

Last week, I went on a two day retreat with my local writing group. I didn’t do a lot of writing, but started preparing to significantly step up my writing practice. Here are some suggestions I wrote in my journal on the retreat, and I hope they can be of some use to you if you are thinking about not being a writer but doing the deed itself:

  • Spend less time on devices like your phone and TV.
  • When you want to read or watch something about writing, sit down and just write.
  • Instead of shopping for books or browsing the library, write your own book.
  • Create or find a physical space that is conducive to daily writing. If you don’t want to sit down and write in the living room, make it better or find a different space.
  • Relate writing to other things you do during the day — cooking, washing the dishes, walking, photography, grocery shopping, going to the doctor, spending time with others. Turn your life into writing material.

What prevents you from sitting down and getting the work of writing done? What methods are helpful for you? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Writer, teacher, and photographer in Indiana.

Writer, teacher, and photographer in Indiana.