On Writing – What I Once Thought a Writer Was

When I was younger, I thought a writer was always taken up new story ideas constantly. I thought writers churned out masterpieces in a matter of unstopping, sleepless days. I thought writers were eccentrically disorganized and could even then barely finish one project before another swept them up in a flight of inspiration. I thought writers drank scotch and were the life of parties with their wit and insight. I thought writers produced masterpieces the way most people make a meal.

I’ve learned since then, that writers focus. I’ve learned a writer’s best skill isn’t presenting their own perspective, it’s in the ability to present that of others. I’ve learned a writer may always have a few dozen ideas on the queue, but that steady focus on one at a time is how they get done.

I’ve learned that a masterpiece is never spontaneously poured onto a page, it’s built patiently, page by page, then chiseled and refined through self appraisal and tedious editing. I’ve learned that a writer is often too busy for the party because there are so many stories and pages to get through, but only so many days. I’ve learned that a writer doesn’t talk about writing, they write.

I was right about the scotch though.

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