Do you have what it takes to call yourself a writer or are you another dabbling hobbyist? Do you really want to know what separates one from the other? What magic bullet do you need in order to take your dreams of being a professional from dream to reality?
Write. Every. Day.
Let’s put it another way, a friend of mine is a better writer than I am. His grammatical grasp is enviable, his turns of phrase are lyric and he can craft a scene that will swallow you whole from the very first line. All of this leads me to bug him again and again about exploring his options as a writer, which he always refuses – because he never writes more than a few pages at a time. At best, my friend can only craft a single scene, before the muse leaves him high and dry, and no amount of his scenes strung together ever add up to a full tale; continuity errors crop up with growing frequency as the time between his writing sessions increases until it’s all a jumbled mess.
I marvel at his many talents while he is in awe at my ability to come back, day after day, and write a little bit more each time. For him, writing an entire story is near impossible, writing a novel isn’t even a pipe dream; while the only difference I can see between us is I get up every day and face off against my muse and my computer screen until someone cries “uncle.”
Learn to write every day, set a daily word count goal and keep it. Site’s like 750words.com are a great tool to help get you started and keep you honest. Just remember, if you want to be a writer the most important thing you can do for your career is learn to: write every day. Don’t worry, you come away from that day’s work feeling like every word sucked – that’s what rewrites and edits are for and you’ll be surprised how much your craft improves with the simple application of a lot of practice.