Instructional · writing

On the Kinds of Writer You Can Be

As a writer (in the sense that, currently, I am writing, or you would be looking at a blank page/screen), I read a lot of guides on how to write. Writing for Profit. Writing Screenplays That Will Sell. Writing as a Career. Top Tips from Top Writers. Writing Rites to Help Writers Write Right.

And from this undoubted wellspring of expertise, this is what I know, given to you for free. Because this is the Internet.

Some writers like to write; others love to have written. This is the main difference between writers. Some spring from their beds ready to add one word after another all the live-long day. Some hate the compulsion that forces them to transfer words from their brains to their pen/keyboard/brick wall, but live happier lives once they’ve just let it all out.

Some writers are 9­–5 types who sit down, knock out 5,000 words, then get on with their day. Some disappear to the shed at the bottom of the garden at 8am and agonize over 5 or 6 words before heading back home for a stiff drink and an evening full of nightmares and guilt.

Others write when they’re not too tired from working-to-pay-the-bills all day.

Some write to pay the bills. Some write because they have words in their skulls that would come out in very messy ways if they were not released onto the page/screen.

Some writers are writers by occupation; some writers are writers as an abstract idea. Some live the writer’s lifestyle, in cold attics, writing by candlelight, unknown and unheralded; some live the lifestyle of someone who has a family, a mortgage, sometimes transferring almost-illegible scribbling from a notebook onto a hard-drive via the magic of a plastic keyboard.

Remember to back up those hard-drives, writers.

Some write to a word count and some write until their souls are empty, dried and cracked. Some smile when they write, or they listen to Sinatra, or they open a window to feel the breeze and hear the laughter of small children. Others write hunched, alone, afraid, risking their lives in concrete bunkers in countries you don’t even know exist.

Some writers don’t even write all that often. I’m that kind of writer.

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