Writing Tip: #19 If You’re Not Writing, Don’t Be a Writer

If writing is your hobby, this tip doesn’t apply to you. If writing is your dream career, listen up.

The dream to become a novelist or screenwriter is romantic. It draws hordes of teens and adults who chase it only because it promises fame, prestige, and money. And besides, writing can’t be that hard; if you can read a book, you can write one… right?

Wrong. Writing takes patience, practice, and passion… LOTS of it.

Successful writers don’t write because they’re supposed to, they write because they need to. Whether they’re a successful novelist, poet, or screenwriter, they have talent because their mind won’t let them stop working. Yes, they may encounter bouts of “writer’s block,” but it’s rare, and when they have it, it drives them crazy.

Creative writers have analytic minds. They don’t just read for fun. They dissect the words, structure, and characters to see how they work. When they watch movies, they try to figure out why the writers made the choices they did. Creative writers carry a notebook with them at all times because they’re terrified they’ll hear an interesting anecdote and forget about it later.

They don’t write for fame. They don’t write for money. They write because they don’t have a choice.

If this is you, then chase your dream to the end. If you find that writing is a constant struggle, you might want to consider a different career.

This may be hard to hear, but this is the kind of advice that scares away the wannabes and strengthens those who stand a chance.

Are my views too extreme? Are there other work habits that separate hobbyists from professionals? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Thingstosay (Tess)

    I agree with you. Is this a bit extreme? Yes, but that’s okay. Writing a book, I think, is something that is totally underestimated. On almost everyone’s bucket list, there’s ‘write a book’. But it isn’t that simple. You need to think of back stories, subplot lines, what the random person in chapter 10 looks like, and why someone says a certain word instead of another. You create a whole new universe. You invent people from nothing. It’s hard work.
    Many people think writing a book would be fun for the allure of fame and fortune as you said. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not that simple. Many people who aren’t ‘serious’ about their writing end up with cheesy plot lines, and cliched stories. Why? Because coming up with your own idea is much harder. Being a writer is like any job, you need certain qualifications, if you aren’t coming up with ideas and constantly think about what you’re going to write next, then you’re not a (serious) writer. Can you try harder and become a serious writer? Sure, but I think it’d be very hard. If you are serious, I just think you are and you don’t need to try at it.
    Can people write for a hobby, yes. That’s allowed and I have no problem with that. But if you want your book to get published or become any sort of professional, you need to take it seriously. If you can’t, then don’t be a writer.
    It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone.

    P.S please excuse many bad grammar. I kind of went on a rant.

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