Most people have got what they wanted

You’re a writer. You should write. Some people write just anything – the important thing is that they’re doing it. Others only want to write certain things. I’m like that. I want to write novels. If you’re like that you’ve got to get serious, organise your life around it, enrol your wife in the vision, find a way to make it work.

It won’t work without commitment. Not passion-commitment or persistence-commitment, but the kind of commitment that is a decision from which you will never back down. You choose to make this work – and that’s that. I suspect this only works when the decision connects with the deeper commitments of who God has made you to be. Don’t wait for God. He moves when you commit.

Realise that the writers who get published are the ones who keep writing, keep editing and keep trying to get published, not the ones who are the best at writing.

It’s important to be realistic. Writing is hard work and it might not make you happy. Who would read or buy what you’re writing anyway? What are you aiming for here – is it possible and does it ever happen?

You’ve got to decide what you want. Getting published is easier than ever. You can self-publish online, either as a blog, or a free e-book, or with no overheads through a publish-on-demand service. Getting published with a traditional publisher is still very hard. Making a little money off writing is pretty easy. Making a lot is difficult, but possible.

Make the most of opportunities to write while the risk is low. You should always start with a back up plan, not because you’ll quit trying to write, but because there are many variables and success might take time to come.

And it takes time to learn how to work at writing. I started my novel in 2007 and then quit for a whole year when #3 son was born. It wasn’t going very well anyway – I hadn’t learned how to sit down and write. I started the whole thing again in Sep 08 and again took about a year to produce not very much. But I was learning what my demons are, and how they win, and how to beat them sometimes, and how to carry on regardless. I still struggle but have written with much more discipline over the last 8 months. I feel like I’m starting to get there – learning the trade.

I just wrote this to a friend who wants to be a writer (personal references removed). The thing I forgot to add was that life is too short to think about being a writer instead of getting on and doing it. You have to want it enough. You have to want it more that the type of safe, uncreative job that most people prefer (whatever they say). And then you have to do it.