Rant: Things to do before becoming a writer

Old french fairy tales 0103

Why do people ask ‘How do you become a writer’? Does anybody ever come up to a musician and say ‘Tell me, tell me, how do I become a tuba player’? No! It’s too obvious.
Ursula K. LeGuin, On Writing

If you look at writing blogs, you’ve probably seen other articles like this one on things you need to do before you become a writer. They aren’t as well written as this one, but they all, every one, annoy me. The basic assumptions underlying the article are flat wrong.

Look, it’s really not that complicated.

There are innumerable things you could do before giving yourself permission to be a writer. But there are two things you need to do before becoming a writer.

  1. Obtain something to write upon, such as a piece of paper.
  2. Obtain something to write with, such as a pen.

That’s it.

Anything else might help you to become a better writer, and that’s great, but I hate the idea that you have to sit there with a checklist and tick off every box before starting to write the story that you need to tell.

Mary Jo Putney just published a blog post on the moment she became a writer.

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