Someone who holds forth on a subject they know absolutely nothing about.
I have neglected the blog for too long. A small part of me wants to promise you consistent posting from now on: a regular post on something important and pertinent to the writing life. The larger part of me knows that I would fail, so dare not start. But – and please forgive me this writing pun – maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter.
When it comes to writing I often feel like I am ultracrepidarian. Most people can write; most of them can write sentences, paragraphs, even stories or essays that make coherent sense. So what makes a writer a writer?
I have come to the conclusion that it is ‘bum on seat’. A writer is a writer because they write. And the only way to write is to sit down and do it. Application to the craft is key to success. So much of the writing advice is that it is all very well to have a brilliant story idea, but until it is set down on paper (or tapped onto the computer) it is merely a thought or dream.
Another reason people don’t actually write their stories is their fear of getting it wrong. Writing is like elite sport: you only get any good by practise. The more you do, the more you learn, the better you become. At least, that is my theory. Some of us may never win Olympic Gold (Man Booker Prize) but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it onto the local football team (craft an excellent story – and have fun!)
Writing begets writing. It is addictive, seeping into you such that you can’t let it go. One story leads to another; one character draws you in to knowing a family more. As a plot develops, things happen: branches from the main tree trunk that you wish to follow and explore. Some break off, forming stories of their own; others become grafted on, intertwined with the original storyline.
Like any profession, writing requires dedication and commitment. For me, that is setting time aside when what I do is write, whatever the family is doing, or whatever the children need from me. To move forward, it has to be treated as a career in much the same way as my (paid) employment is. Sometimes that will involve blog posts.
Ultracrepidarian? Never! Now, back to the grindstone…