To Become a Writer, Just Do These Two Things

by Joe Bunting | 64 comments

Why did you first have the idea to become a writer? I could be wrong, but it was probably because you read a book that touched you so deeply, that pierced you to your core, that you thought, “Wouldn't it be amazing to inspire this feeling in others?”

To Become a Writer, Just Do These Two Things

Why We Become Writers

In other words, you first dreamed of becoming a writer not to get famous, not to become a New York Times bestseller, not so you could tell people at parties, “I'm an author. Aren't I amazing?”

No, you first dreamed of becoming a writer to create a deep connection. You wanted another person to know how you felt. You wanted to change someone's life.

5 Lies Distracting You From Your Purpose

But as you thought more about becoming a writer, and as you talked about your dream with others, doubts and distractions arose:

  1. Skepticism: How are you going to make a living as a writer?
  2. Vanity: could writing make you famous?
  3. Pride: I'm a much better writer than Stephenie Meyer? 
  4. Fear: But what if I'm rejected?
  5. Doubt: No one is going to read my writing anyway. What's the point?

Slowly, that original desire became distorted until you can actually believe your main goal is just to be a bestselling author, when in reality, you want so much more. You want to change the world.

Two Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a Writer

It's time to rediscover your dream to become a writer. Now is the time to remember what writing is really about for you.

And to do that, you don't need a publisher or a blog with thousands of visitors or even a book.

You only need two things to become a writer:

  1. Write your story.
  2. Share your story with the world.

It's really that simple.

Become a Writer Today

I asked Seth Godin what the single most important thing you can do to become a successful writer.

Seth said, write another story. “And the second most important thing is to share it.”

That's it. You don't need a plan. You don't need to know anything about marketing. You just need to write a good story (not a perfect one) and share it.

When did you first want to become a writer? Let me know in the comments.


Imagine the moment you first wanted to be a writer. For me, I was in my room reading a book by Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities, I believe).

Then, free write, letting that pure energy pervade your writing.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, post your practice in the comments section.

Have fun!

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. Sandra Hould

    I do
    remember the first time I first thought of how cool it would be to be a writer.
    It was when I was a teenager. I used to watch the series “Murder, She wrote”
    and seeing how Jessica Fletcher would make her stories come to life really
    inspired me. But back then, I was too afraid to write, thinking how inadequate
    I was and how poor my writing was. It was also a medium that frighten me. I am
    much better at drawing than at writing. To me writing was basically a foreign
    language, even in my native French Canadian tongue. I did try to write a story, but not knowing
    one bit about how a book or even a story was created, so I soon flushed that
    story and tried to forget all about my dream of becoming a writer. I never
    wanted to do it for the fame, far from it. I wanted to become a writer to share
    stories and have fun creating. But I was too insecure about my own abilities to
    even try again.

    That is
    until I soon started to watch another police series entitled “Castle” where a
    writer teams up with the NYPD to solve crimes while writing awesome books at
    the same time. Once again, I was thrown back into that dream of mine. But
    having worked hard on my language abilities in French and being more and more
    fluent in English, I decided that it would not hurt to jump the empty gap in
    front of me like I have done so many times in my life. This time, this gap was
    even bigger than all the ones I had jumped in the past. But this time, I was ready
    for a good challenge.

    So I jumped
    and started to study how to write, how to become a writer and started writing
    stories again. And I must say that I am absolutely not regretting it because
    now, being more mature and better equipped to tackle this challenge, I am now
    ready to face this dream and jump into it feet first and with a smile on my
    face. I am now more than happy to try to be not only a good story writer, but
    also a good proofreader. Because one
    cannot go without the other for me. Now, I am living my dream and I am loving
    every bit of it.

    And I now
    say to others to never be afraid to try out different things even if they are
    not sure of themselves, because we never know how much fun life can truly be
    when we try to do what we seem to be impossible. Impossible doesn’t exist,
    everything is possible and everything is great.

    • Steve Stretton

      As I have said before, things usually don’t come easily, but if something’s worth doing, keep at it. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Crim

      *claps* Proof dreams can and do come true. Thanks for writing your story.

  2. Jeff Ellis

    Henry was afraid of the dark. It was common among children his age, but Henry’s fears were more elaborate than others’. Henry’s fears were born from an understanding he had come to at far too young an age. He understood something very simple about the world that other children did not know; that perhaps no child should. He understood Death and he understood its inevitability.

    By no means was he a melancholy child. He laughed and he played and he had many friends, all of whom he cherished. What set Henry apart, and what made the darkness so scary, was that Henry saw Death as one might see an acquaintance. Just the same as any imaginary friend, Henry saw Death when his mother would turn out his lights and he saw Death when he and his brother would stay up late, camping in the yard. He saw Death in his dreams and first thing when he woke up. And most often he saw Death chasing him back to the house after had taken the trash out, suddenly fangs and fervor.

    It was when Henry was fourteen and still seeing Death and still too scared to sleep without a nightlight, that Henry came upon the most wonderful of stories. It was a story about a boy, much like Henry, who conquered his fears through understanding. The boy in the story did not fight Fear, nor did someone else come to save him. The boy was able to defeat Fear because he understood that Fear was part of life and that while others did not see Fear, that did not mean that it was any more or less real. The boy understood that Fear was in his mind, and that even though he could not fight Fear as he might fight a schoolyard bully, he could fight Fear with his imagination.

    Much like the boy’s fears, Henry saw that Death was in his mind and that he could not strong-arm such an apparition. Henry created for himself a guardian – a black dog that looked much like Death did when it chased Henry in the dark. Whenever Henry took the trash out at night, or lay in his bed with the lights off and Death would inevitably come to taunt him, Henry imagined his guardian there defending him. When Death poked and prodded at Henry, the guardian was there to chase it off. When Death stood at Henry’s window, looking in at him, the guardian lay on Henry’s bed, growling until the specter floated away. And so it was that Death stopped hounding Henry and a new specter was born. The guardian; who watched over Henry in the night.

    It was because of the story of the boy and his imaginary fears that Henry was able to bring the same peace of mind he felt at school, surrounded by friends and the light of day, into his night life, which he had so often avoided. It was because of the story of the boy that Henry began to think there might be others like him out there in the world. Had it not been for that story and the boy’s fascinating trick, Henry may never have aspired to become an author himself.

    • Crim

      Wow, a wonderful piece. I like the flow of the story, and how Henry’s visions of Death allowed him to grow into the author he is now. Does this represent how you became a writer?

    • Susan W A

      Stunning and instructive.

  3. Steve Stretton

    I don’t remember when I first started to write, I do remember the scraps of paper lying around. It was a frustrating way to write, having to scratch out the errors and rewrite everything. Then I got my first computer. I couldn’t do much with it, everything had to be programmed in Basic. Then I saw an ad for a computer that had folders and notepads and looked like the desk top I was familiar with at work. It was an Apple Lisa, one of the first such machines. It was an Aha! moment. Eventually I got one and have been happily writing since. I like being able to write and correct my work as I go. I like pecking away at the keyboard. I like being able to see a clean typewritten sheet, not a mass of scribble and strikethroughs. I was always criticized for my handwriting at school and it is still a relief to see clean, crisp words forming in front of me. As for why I write, I have always had ideas, and have long wanted to express them. So I now have a collection of stories I’m not sure what to do with. That and one novel completed and one in progress. The writing process itself does not come easily, but I still feel compelled to write.

    • Joe Bunting

      Ideas wanting to be expressed. Sounds like a desire for connection to me. This was great, Steve. Thanks.

    • Steve Stretton

      Thanks Joe, as an a-social person (neither social nor antisocial) I find connection does not come easily. This site has been a great outlet. Thanks again.

    • Joe Bunting

      I hear you, Steve. The miracle of social media is that it lets shy people like us connect. I’m pretty grateful for this outlet too. 🙂

    • Alex Vogel

      A-social? Is that what I am? 🙂

    • Alex Vogel

      I can definitely relate to the scraps of paper lying around, but even with a home computer, I am still having this problem. 🙂 And yes, I remember having to write essays two and three and four times over for messy handwriting. Missed more than one recess for that–having to go back and rewrite handwritten work.

  4. Hope Mendola

    My sisters were born 18 months apart, I came a few years later. In our younger years my mother dressed us in the same clothes – people thought we were triplets (despite the fact that I was half their height.) We took dance classes together, we delivered the neighborhood newspaper together.

    Whatever they did, I wanted to do too.

    My sisters loved to read. And write. They would make up their own characters, their own worlds. I remember sitting in our basement, staring at our computer (which, at the time, was the size of a small space ship) as I read the stories they created. I was captivated, I couldn’t stop scrolling from one page to the next. I never wanted it to end. I would laugh out loud. Even now, as I recall this memory, I can feel laughter rising up in me from whatever it was they wrote.

    They wrote, so I wrote.

    And I haven’t been able to stop ever since.

    • Joe Bunting

      One thing you do really well is seamlessly weave details into your stories: people thinking you were triplets, dance classes, small-space-ship-sized computer, laughter. I like it. You write vividly without taking anything too seriously.

  5. Horse Listening

    She wrote from the day she knew how.

    The words just flowed – not because they were forced to, but simply because they were there and needed to be written. She wrote about everything and anything. Long and detailed, she documented her days at school and the many complicated relationships she tumbled through with her peers. Year in and year out, she dumped her dreams, fears, frustrations and celebrations into notebooks.

    There were many of them – the thick-paged ones that ran out too quickly despite appearing to have more space than they really did. There were the thin-enough-to-rip dollar store note pads that resented the scrapings of an eraser. Even where there were no notebooks to be seen, there were the loose sheets that always presented the challenge of finding them after they got lost in one of the piles. It didn’t really matter what the page looked like. She looked at every blank, unspoiled page with the same excitement that another child might see a water park.

    She played with the words. She fumbled with phrases, stumbled through sounds and rolled with the rhythms. She practiced without ever knowing that it was a practice.

    Reading had its place too. Books were more than simple escape from the mundane. They were more than the incredible character sketches that kept her pining for more at the end of the novel. Books represented the word master’s playground, the roller coaster ride of sentences long/short/combined/split to bring pictures to the mind and feelings to the heart. Books were where she learned how to be.

    Decades later, she is still writing. This time, it is by electronic means and through a computer. Eventually, and mostly thanks to Seth Godin’s “shipping” inspiration, the writing has morphed into a blog.

    But the words continued to come from the same place.

    • Joe Bunting

      Nice. I like how you tell this in third person tense (I’m assuming it’s about you). I’m biased, but I really liked this part: “She played with the words. She fumbled with phrases, stumbled through sounds and rolled with the rhythms. She practiced without ever knowing that it was a practice.” 🙂

    • Horse Listening

      Thanks. Yes, “she” is me!

    • eva rose

      I love this! That “blank,unspoiled page” beckons most writers. Also playing with the words, phrases, sounds. I think you speak my language!

  6. Mer

    Thinking back to when I knew I wanted to write, I realize that toys didn’t play much of a role in my childhood. Sure, I did *have* them……a Tiny Tears Doll that “took” water from a bottle and wee’d it out of a small opening……a beloved Teddy named Honey (who I slept with till sixth grade.) When I was in third grade, my mom bought me a Barbie doll and a pink and black plastic case Barbie and her wardrobe lived in.

    The REAL star of my possessions was always the books.. My earliest bit of memory is a view through the slates of what? My crib? My playpen? I’m laying there watching my mom (I think she must have making her bed) and clutched against my chest is a tiny book. I’m told that book went with me everywhere. It was about a train.

    Eventually, I had a little stack of Golden Books that HAD to go with me everywhere too. (Do they still publish Golden Books? I hope so.) I still have a few of those
    original books from my infancy….they are beyond tattered and very fragile and
    extremely precious to me. Several of them of them have the price in the corner
    of the cover: 5 cents. Mom said that I would get distressed even one was left
    behind—so she was constantly having to make sure that anytime we left the
    house, she had all of them with us. What a little pain in the neck I must have
    been! All my life, my parents and grandparents loved to talk about it—to recall
    absurd stories of a toddler’s passion for books……yet I know that what they
    recall has to be true: my earliest memories verify those stories.

    By the age of three, I was reading. Truly reading. Skeptical friends and relatives
    were treated to my parents favorite “parlor trick”—I’d be given a random cereal box, or newspaper, once a box of laundry detergent, and told to read it out loud. Which I was able to do, quite accurately. It seemed to mollify some of the adults that I didn’t understand what a lot of the words meant and had to sound out some of the larger words. (Not sure what was up with THAT.) Early reading landed me in kindergarten at the age of four—which for a physically tiny child was pretty scary. Everyone seemed like a “big kid” in size as well as age and I was terrified.

    At the time, my favorite book was called “Whitefoot the Wood Mouse” by Thornton Burgess and I carried it with me everywhere. I still remember feeling bereft when Miss Dalton, my kindergarten teacher, told my mom that I couldn’t bring that book to school with me anymore. (Turned out that she didn’t think it was a “good idea”
    for me to read it to the other kids! Go figure.) My mom took care of a
    twelve-year little girl with Down’s Syndrome the year I was in kindergarten,
    her name was Tiffany and we were great friends. I can vividly remember her holding me in her lap and letting me read Whitefoot to her over and over again. She was so sweetly patient—she didn’t even really like the story—no pictures and she was partial to books with pictures, so I traded off, just to keep it fair.

    Mom was an “antique” collector and loved to frequent thrift stores and rummage sales and flea markets in her search for the next “treasure” and of course, I went
    with her. She would hand me a dollar and tell me to get as many books for it as
    I could. I can still remember the wonderful musty smell of book shelves in
    those old shops—Ahh, what sweet perfume! I would go through each shelf, each
    volume and read a few pages, making my choices with care.

    Back at the cash register, Mom would make a final perusal of my choices and weed out the inappropriate ones—making sure that I ended up with many ancient copies of the classics—Dickens, Poe, Steinbeck, Alcott, Austin—but many other fine writers too—L. Frank Baum, Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Fox, Gene Stratton
    Porter, Elizabeth Goudge, Jeffrey Farnol, Anya Seton, Richard Matheson and so
    very many others. Sometimes I needed a box to carry my haul back to the car—which was prophetic, as it turns out.

    I’ll never forget the look of consternation on husband’s face when we went to my
    house to get “the rest of my stuff” the day after we returned from our honeymoon. There were eleven huge boxes of books–the other dozen or so carefully hidden in my closet, to be taken back to our apartment one box at a time over the next several months. My new husband glared at the boxes, then at me and muttered darkly about trusses as he schlepped each cruelly heavy box to the van.

    I still have most of those books. Of course, now I have many, many other books too–but none as precious and magical as the ones from my childhood. They were my toys, they were my friends, they were and are my passion.

    So, I guess this too-long post is to say I can’t remember WHEN I knew that I would be a writer because I can’t remember exactly when I began to read; what I do know for certain sure is that the second followed the first in short order. I’ve always known that writing was the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

    • Joe Bunting

      Books and writing always go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing your story, Mer.

  7. Karoline Kingley

    I’ve always loved reading, and books became important to me at a young age. (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book I fell in love with.) However in elementary school, teachers don’t ever propose writing as a career. I thought my options were limited to a ballerina, rockstar or fireman. When I was nine I suddenly realized that there are people writing these books I love so much, and maybe I could do it too.

    • Joe Bunting

      How are you ever going to make money at being a writer though. You should stick with your safety choice of rockstar, I think. 😉

  8. Alex Vogel

    The first moment that I can recall where I knew that I wanted to write, and not necessarily that I wanted to be an author, a writer, a novelist, a poet, or any of that, but where I knew that I wanted to write just for my own pleasure was in the third grade. Like the other children, I had a list of books that I was expected to read. For every book that you read, you could take a test, and if you passed, you gained points. You could exchange the points for prizes. I can still remember (vaguely) that there was this box with a wooden frame and a glass window on the top that sat on short legs. If I stepped up on my tiptoes, I could look inside. It contained all sorts of prizes—the less “expensive” prizes and the more “expensive” prizes. Each having a price–the more books that you read, the more points you could get, the nicer prize you could claim. You could say that I was more intrigued by these prizes than I was even the books at this point in my life, but that would change, of course.

    Every day, I would go to the library and scout out new prizes, check on my points, and check out a new book. The more you read—the more points you attained—the cooler the prizes you could claim. I was competitive. Very competitive. And while I wasn’t so good at dodge ball or even friendships, I was a fast reader, and I would conquer this reading game.

    I can’t recall the prize that I really wanted, but I was going to save my points for the big one and not turn my points in for a bunch of little prizes this time. I was going to show everyone that I could get that prize with the expensive tag, the one that only the fastest reader could achieve.

    There was something very special for me waiting inside
    that box and I was going to do whatever, read whatever, and take whatever tests I had to to get it. I can’t tell you know what the grand prize was now, for I can’t remember a single prize in that box, but I can
    tell you that I buckled down, and that quarter, I read as many books as I
    could, as fast as I could. I wonder now, how many of those books that I hurried
    through, memorized key points, without ever really enjoying, and then took a shot at the test….

    Actually now, when thinking back, I
    remember taking the tests without having actually finished some of the books,
    just so that I could get more points, just so I could get that prize that I
    knew was created just for me… but anyway, what I remember–what I am getting
    at– is I finally came across this book that fascinated me. And rather than
    reading what I had to (to, of course, pass the test), I read it twice, three
    times maybe. It was a book about different types of animal characters that
    lived in tents, huts–a village you might say–and they were friends and
    congregated together in this peaceful, happy place where cats loved mice, and
    dogs could socialize with porcupines that lived in zip-up tents. Although they were so different, they
    were friends, and were happy regardless of the differences. I don’t remember
    the title (I wish I could) and I don’t remember the conflict (if there was
    one), but for some reason, I fell in love with it, obsessed over it a little maybe.

    After reading, and reading, and reading the little book, I was left disappointed and craving more. I searched
    the shelves, trying to find another just like it, but nowhere in the library
    could I find another story about lots of different animals that came together
    as friends in just the same way. So then I had an idea. What if—what if I could create my own story, my very own story, or many stories, with a bunch of cute animals (always have been an animal lover, can you tell?) so that I could continue on with my happy little escape, the escape that I had found inside this book. So, using my very first home computer, I buckled down, and wrote–not a book or even a short story– but a play about a bunch of animals that come together for a picnic
    with a narrator (I can still remember battling over the spelling of narrator
    before there was spell check) and scene setting. And I got so much joy out of this–even at such a young age–that I knew that this– writing as a passion and not for points, not for prizes, but just for fun, for any reason, if for no reason at all–that I wanted to create my own worlds, my very own
    stories–my very own characters–was something that I had to, I needed to do. And after reading this book– I didn’t hurry so much with the others, but actually paced myself, enveloped myself in my reading, and while I wasn’t a kid who got in trouble for being a class clown, I did eventually, after stumbling across this book, continue to get in trouble for reading unrelated material in class.

    I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t have to write a grand, fleeting tale to change someone’s life… a little story about talking animals changed mine.

  9. Eva Rose

    I loved to read Zane Gray and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Those stories were so real I cried when I realized the characters were no longer alive. Then I reached my own goals for writing.
    There are moments which suspend time, snatch away breath and ignite the soul: the vigbrating string of a Stradivarius, a scent of gardenia on a passing breeze, the fleeting warmth of Zinfadel wine, the smoky snap from the fireplace. It’s magic that I want to hold forever. If I can only capture it, discover the words to give it life and transfer it to the page, the moment will never die.
    A chance encounter with a stranger, a literary quote from a teacher, the spontaneous hug of a child all lift the day above the ordinary. Telling the story must follow. The trembling voice of an elderly dying woman pleads: “Will you listen to my story?” We can accept being gone but not forgotten.
    An unseen presence urges me to define what I see and feel. A hand guides my notes across the page and my fingers on the keyboard. The call to write awakens me from sleep, thoughts tumbling out faster than I can grasp.
    Words find their path to paper. The reader will choose which to keep.

    • Joe Bunting

      So many wonderful images here. This is like a poem.

  10. Missaralee

    Older brother, so much cooler, wiser and…well, spiffier than me.
    He could read, that magical boy.
    He read and reread Seuss’ masterful Foot Book until the words came alive in my soul.
    And he could write, that mystical boy, when I could only scrawl my name.
    Epic tale of a little worm who only wanted to be cool, and an egotistical horse that drove a shiny porsche.
    Pure genious.
    My brother the artist.
    My brother.
    I followed him everywhere.
    He would make art, and so I would make art.
    His legos were original towers of wonder and mystery.
    As for me, I tried hard just to build semi-decent, four-sided geometries.
    Whatever he loved, I loved too.
    How else do you explain my inner Trekkie?
    So, a writer is what my brother was, until school and homework and folly killed his first love.
    So now I’m the writer and he’s the one who’s catching up.
    Rekindling that flame that made me look up,
    To my brother, the king.
    I have no doubt one day again he’ll surpass me soon.
    Even as my first novel springs from the legacy of his early literacy,
    That picture book, that rhyming fable, fully illustrated that fully captivated me.
    I hope his great work will find a root in the flag I’ve been dragging on:
    our mutual love of art and this written artform.

    • Giulia Esposito

      Missaralee, I had also had an older brother who could read and build lego creations I could not when I was very very small. He also made me into an Trekkie. This is a great practice. Thank you for it.

    • Susan W A

      Exquisite … your piece is steeped in the depth of your relationship with your brother and the magic of discovery. I was touched deeply by this rich reflection.

  11. Giulia Esposito

    I was very young when I first realized that I wanted to write. Hope this practice makes sense.
    Mommy is tired of me playing in her
    laundry room. I’m too big now for the little table and chair and I want more
    than crayons. I’m eight now, a very big girl. Mommy makes me room at the
    upstairs kitchen table when she realizes I’ve been hiding stacks of paper, all
    scrawled with my childish stories, under the bed. My big brother complains I’ve
    used all his foolscap. Like he uses anyway, he never does his homework. And
    anyway, I have a story to tell. Mommy doesn’t mind. She thinks I’m playing so
    she just keeps buying me paper. And I keep writing. And so passes the summer, with
    me writing at the table when there’s no one to play with outside. Now I’m nine.
    It’s fall, and I’m going to grade four. And I love it because we get to write
    in big notebooks. The clean pages, unmarked, beckon to me. And I write, and I
    write, and then one day Teacher says not to write dialogue anymore because she
    can’t understand my storyline anymore. And I’m disappointed, because my
    characters need to talk. But I do like Teacher says because she’s Teacher
    anyway. She’s Scary Teacher. I can’t talk to her. Nice Teacher left after
    Christmas because she had her baby. But when it’s writing time, I can’t write
    my stories anymore. I can’t tell a story without anyone saying anything in
    them. All the books I read have characters that talk in them, so why shouldn’t
    mine? And the unfairness of this stings inside of me. The table I used to sit
    at home, well, it’s there but I don’t sit there as much anymore. It’s hard to
    write now because Teacher won’t let me write like I should, and we’re moving
    and my best friend isn’t my friend anymore. And months pass in silence. I’m too
    sad to write. It’s summer again, and all the awful spring is behind me. We’re
    in our new, big house. I can write again because that’s all there is to do when
    the World Cup games aren’t on. My team doesn’t win. I’m almost ten now, and I
    know that I have so many stories to tell. I can feel them inside of me,
    growing. I know I have so much to learn, but I know I need to write. I know it
    as elementally as I know I need air.

    • Missaralee

      Teachers can be an inspiration or a curse. I really feel your piece. When I was 8 years old I wrote long and involved stories with twists and turns and overlapping backtracks and beautiful long sentences that ran on and out into the wilds of story. One teacher told me it was all too complicated and too long. You must write short, terse sentences, she said. My spelling was atrocious, she said. You must write linear, intelligible stories, she said. So I did. But now? I ramble on as long as I darn well please. I make incomplete sentences and sprinkle punctuation and terms and “lolz” wherever I like. Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what’s proper and what’s not: I’m a creative!

    • Giulia Esposito

      I hear you! My story is practically all dialogue now lol

  12. Sara C. Snider

    A great article and one that inspired me to answer in a blog post of my own (my first, incidentally, thus officially marking the launch of my blog). As a new writer, I find it encouraging to see “success” defined so succinctly and in a way that mirrors my own ideas of what being a successful writer means.

    • Joe Bunting

      I’m so honored to have helped inspire your first post, Sara!

  13. Trish Barton

    I remember the first time I wrote:

    I was one month shy of my 7th birthday and my mother had
    just passed away. A concerned relative told me to write down my
    feelings. It was the best advice I ever followed. My writings flowed
    from a deep place inside of me, and I felt better when my heart
    danced from the page. I knew instantly that writing was what I needed
    to get through my days.

    Later that year, I got in a fight with some girls at the bus stop because I was in a haze from the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. None of the kids around me understood my musical passion, so I was labeled weird and stupid. I
    desperately wanted to share with others how music moved me, how I
    spent hours dissecting album covers, how I felt when I heard The
    Beatles sing The Long and Windy Road. That night after being teased
    and prodded, I retreated into my notebook and remember feeling like I
    met a friend who finally understood me.

    When I wrote compositions in 4th grade and shared them with the other students, they always chose mine to read aloud. I didn’t always feel comfortable sharing, but it felt good to be acknowledged, to be valued as a person for something I
    enjoyed doing. “You should be a writer,” they would say, and I cherished those words as my ticket home.

    Later, I wrote for the high school newspaper. In college, I took creative writing classes. I got married, had kids and took care of our home and finances. To make
    money, I dabbled as a freelance writer and wrote articles for whichever local magazine would have me. Creative writing became something I did once in a while. My words did not have time to sing or dance. I wrote to provide a paycheck and my words marched and informed. I began to lose the purity and freedom my writing delivered to me as a child.

    Today, if I don’t write my heart aches. I become miserable and surly with those around me. Writing keeps me grounded, keeps me sane. I am trying to get back to writing from the heart, to silence the demand that each word be perfect, that each
    project be a paying one. When I focus on an outcome, my writing suffers but more critically, I suffer. I remember back to when I wrote to release heartache, to understand myself, to express myself in spite of those who didn’t get me. I need to get back to that writer: the one who writes for the pure experience of putting words
    down, the one who writes and realizes it’s the heart dancing along the pages that sings, I am a writer!

  14. Caleb Schadeck

    I didn’t know who to go to, I didn’t know who to trust anymore. The little girl’s blank eyes stared at me pressing into me wondering what to do next. I had no clue what to do next. She never said a word only stared at me fully trusting knowing that what ever decision I made would be the right one. What if I was wrong? What if I didn’t make the right choice? Choose the wrong door? Pressed on down the wrong path. My whole life I had made nothing but the wrong decisions. Then the phone wrang.
    “Hello?” I said with a shaky voice.
    “Hello Chris?”
    “No, no this is Allen.”
    “Ah well I was told there would be a Chris here so I am going to leave the message with you anyway”
    “Umm, I don’t know a Chris”
    “That’s ok I’m sure this will reach him tell him that Susan from the C.P.A. called and that his order is ready.”
    “The C.P.A.?”
    “Yes sir”
    “No you don’t undersand, the C.P.A. closed five years ago, I am standing in their old office”
    “Hmmmm well I’m calling from the headquarters right now and we are open. Just be sure to get this message to Chris. Bye now!”
    “Wait! Wait, Wait who gave you this number.”
    “A lady by the name of Clara Beckens”
    “Is this some kind of joke?”
    “I’m afraid I don’t undersand.”
    “Clara is dead.”
    “No sir she is right here, let me put her on.” The phone rustled. “H–Hello”
    My hair stood on end, for the first time in 10 years I was hearing me dead wife’s voice. I glanced over to check on the little girl but she was gone.
    “Allen?” Clara said “I– I don’t undersand you died ten years ago.”

    • Caleb Schadeck

      Yeah, that’s usually how my writing goes lots of cliffhangers never any endings also my grammer/spelling is horrid so if you could ignore that as mucha possible 😛

  15. Sonny

    Don’t just stare, come closer. Come and see what it feels like to be almost aware of yourself. You may not recognise it at first, but it will reveal itself sooner than you think. And when you know it’s arrived, it’s that divine sensation that makes you scream inside, it rips apart every little worry you have, every single sound creeping in is silenced, and nothing toxic remains. It’s the purest of the pure. Spread your fingers and release the baggage, it’s wasn’t worth it in the first place, and now you know what it was meant to be like after so many misguided decisions. It was a lesson after a lesson after all. A graduation of such has never tasted more fruitful that this. Welcome to the free land, we’ve all been waiting for you.

  16. Kara

    She had always been an outlandish child- she said odd things, and the other children neglected her. She scared them away, and she saw it, though what she had always failed to see was what drove them away. An addiction to reading and books grew at a young age- she couldn’t get enough of a vocabulary to satisfy her. She read and read, and the more she read, the more each word and sentence and story became her. She soon was composed of so many dancing words and beautiful stories that they cried to be poured out- and they were.

  17. Matt Mcmillion

    Mankind, The Pinnacle of God’s Creation, brought up from the very dust of the Earth, to us, this world was paradise, to others it was something to be Jealous of…

    In the beggining, the human race was primitive, alone, afraid of it’s existence;
    Watched over by an intelligence it didn’t understand or was able to see, this was the Origin, a race of advanced beings assigned a mission by the Universe’s Creator, to oversee our evolution, however, there were some who despised us, hated us, jealous of us. They were The Extinction, a race so Vile and filthy that their flesh decayed from birth and plague followed wherever they went.

    We as humans had always asked if we were alonw in this universe, that was, until October 21st , 2160 A. D.
    A night forever known as Starfall.

    From the skys rained down hellfire that crashed to the ground, and from the ashes crawled forth the brood. In a matter of weeks the Earth had fallen, and our people enslaved…..

  18. Beck Gambill

    Aaah, I needed this reminder! A story, and another heart. That’s all it takes. Marketing so often dominates my thoughts of writing. Thanks for reminding me of what I love.

    • Joe Bunting

      I hear you, Beck. Marketing is just a way to develop the potential of connection, but if you don’t stop to enjoy it, you can miss it. Great to hear from you.

  19. concordriverlady

    “What does it feel like to be a writer?” my son asked, wide-eyed and curious. “It feels like I have control of the Universe,” I responded. Bewilderment replaced his curiosity. “You mean, you’re a super hero?” His question game me reason to pause what I had been doing and really think about what it feels like to be a writer. The dishes could wait. No one ever died from dirty dishes in the sink, unless they ate off one of the them and contracted food poisoning, but, I’m losing track. Okay, we’re back. It does feel like I control the Universe. Not the one where Orion sparkles outside my bedroom window. But a Universe that I control. One where good will always win, even though the darkness may seem impenetrable. A Universe where true love exists and love’s first kiss is followed by love’s second and third kisses. A Universe where friends don’t betray you and family always has your back. Cool. I’m a writer. Now back to the dishes.

    • Joe Bunting

      Sounds amazing and exactly right. Loved this little scene. Thank you for sharing it.

  20. Jeanne DeShazer

    I began writing stories and sharing them in 2nd grade. I was going to have my tonsils out and I had written a story, with flannel board illustrations, and before I would go to the hospital, my father had to bring me by my class, so I could read my story. My teacher was very accommodating. I wrote plays mostly, and always wrote about everything in my journal. When I stopped caring so much about making it sound good, that’s when it got much better.

    • Joe Bunting

      Isn’t it interesting how it so often works out like that. Thank you for sharing your story, Jeanne. 🙂

  21. James Wright

    I knew I wanted to become a writer from the time I started to understand the written word. I had the challenge of having a learning disability in school and was frequently frustrated at not understanding some concepts due to poor reading skills. One day a light went on in my head and I started understanding what was asked of me.

    • Joe Bunting

      Amazing how your challenge became your passion. It’s so often true, but why does it work like that? Is writing still a challenge for you? Does the level of challenge still correlate to passion?

    • James Wright

      Yes Joe, my challenge is an ongoing one into my adulthood but I have more patience with learning than I did as a child, I should also mention the fact that I’m also physically challenged from birth.

  22. nianro

    I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be God.

    I’ve wanted to be God since the time I was a tiny child; I couldn’t tell you exactly where or when the desire originated. Probably the first moment I understood the disconnect between reality and my wishes. Writing is a distant second, at best, but it’s infinitely more achievable and it pays the bills.

    I want to inspire feelings in people, but not so much for the feeling it inspires in others, but, rather, the feeling that inspiration inspires in me—more of a “ha-ha, made you cry,” sort of deal. I never feel anything when I write, which, I guess, is unusual; the typical advice is that if the author feels nothing, the audience feels nothing, but in my case, it has always been the opposite—on the rare occasion I allow myself to feel anything when I write, it’s tripe. Complete crap. People ask me if I was having an off day or something.

    All the emotion, all the vim and verve, all the solar passion and radiant splendor that shines in my prose, springs from an ultimately sterile font. I write and I feel nothing. People read and tell me how very moving it all is, and I feel nothing. The whole exercise is purely intellectual. It borders on vapid, but at the least, it is not banal. I abhor banality, which is ironic, because I can capture it so effectively and easily in my writing. I suppose I invite banality into my writing precisely because it is an invitation; in the real, adult-type world, I have to endure distractions and the ceaseless funeral procession of human stupidity and I am prohibited responding with the ultraviolent impulses that come so readily.

    Money has twisted my objectives, certainly, but that’s true of any profession. I no longer care for inspiring anyone or anything. Inspiration is a means to an end. Emotion is a tool, and a rather pathetic one at that. I would prefer to write from my heart, but I find my heart vestigial. I write happily-ever-afters and collect my royalty checks and wonder, occasionally, what life might have been like if I’d taken the other path, writing the legit, literary fiction of which I am eminently capable, and then I laugh and cash the check and buy myself something velvet and forget about the entire pathetic endeavor.

    It is strange, isn’t it? To write about emotion and the struggles of humanity and valor and stirring the headier passions of the soul, and to feel nothing of it—to witness and document and define and recreate the human experience, crystallized in literary majesty, and to feel nothing at all toward it.

    In public, I smile and pinch people in the distance between my fingers and imagine them bursting, spontaneously, like flattened cockroaches, with blood and guts and ooze and gore and internal organs oozing and splattering all along the ground in wet slaps and the bones fracture and fragment into splinters that spill around the earth, dyed red with blood. And then I go home and write about these people who annoy me so, these scarcely-human flies buzzing in the distance, and make an embarrassing amount of money off of them, and in the end I like it most when they splatter anyway, but sometimes they have to fall in love or make personal developments or whatever … I don’t understand people at all, I just watch them and copy it and try to fake it and write it down and hope the audience can fill in the rest.

    I suppose I’m the opposite of Hemingway’s iceberg. I see only that one-eighth tip. But the other seven-eighths are always the same shape, you see? Always the same shape. Behavioral patterns and a few trivial motives.

    I never should’ve written.

    That’s the danger of letting the real world infect your passion. It poisons it from the inside. The banality of life infects it like a plague and it necrotizes and rots inside-out and what you once loved more than life itself falls fallow, and you hold a hollow, dead thing in your arms. Jagged shards of splintered glass. What was beautiful becomes another interface to the aesthetic sterility of life.

    One day I’ll find a new passion, and I’ll never share it with anyone. Maybe if I lock my door tight enough I can still be God for a while.

    That’s about fifteen minutes, right? Seventeen. Maybe cut the last paragraph.

    • Tash

      I love this piece of writing, it is raw and I find it totally relatable. There is pain and humor. If you wrote in this manner for an entire book with this level of honesty and wonderfully rich descriptions I would buy it.

  23. Sarah Bourgeois

    My parents always told me that it was God’s plan for me to write, At the time, I kind of just brushed it off and told them that I wanted to do something more glamourous with my life. I spent my entire life searching for that one thing that set me apart from everybody else. I thought that was singing but I always found someone who was better at it than I. I wanted something that was uniquely mine and something that nobody else had.

    The day that I realized that writing was my calling from God was actually not as awesome as it sounds. It wasn’t during some random reading of a book or anything like that. Instead, it was in 7th grade. My teacher told us to write our very own creative introduction. At first I had no idea what to do with that prompt so I thought back on all of the things I have done in my life and ultimately decided to just explode one moment in my life when I was truly terrified. I remember putting my pen to the paper and the words just come rushing out of me in a river of magic. The only way I can describe it is a whirlwind. I got trapped in this place where there was nothing but the words swirling around my head as my ideas turned into sentences and I described what I saw.

    That was truly when I found that I could write and that writing is why I was born. I love the feeling of writing; of being able to create something. In a way, I combined all of my interests when I became a writer. Like an artist, I paint a picture with the ink in my pen and take whomever would listen to another world. Like a singer, I have the ability to change the outcome of someones day. So I am doing everything that I wanted to and more.

  24. Renette Steele

    Such a pretty little thing, yet a tom boy to the core. Momma wants her to be prim and proper, always dressed right in public, even at play. The community where she lives is not a friendly one and she is not a part of the right group so is often left out. Her beauty gains the praise of the adults but the children say she is not allowed to play with them.The pain inside is great and heavy to bear. What to do with it all?

    In school she is in trouble for talking way to much and the same goes at home. Her Grandpa even tells her if she can sit still in a chair and be quiet for five minutes, he will pay her a quarter.

    In Second grade she found out words strong together made stories. Her penmanship wasn’t great and her spelling stunk, but her feelings found a way to flow. In sixth grade she even got to go read what she wrote to the first graders. It was a thrill and a joy to express herself so.

    In Jr high the teachers told her she couldn’t write and her papers looked dipped in red ink, but she found a new form and wrote in pros just to please her own needs. Then for years it was set aside. Later as a grown adult when pain returned the Poetry had to come out again. Now learning to write in story form and learning how to share. That as long as she writes for her and the LORD it doesn’t matter how much red ink there is.

  25. Reagan Colbert

    I was fourteen years old, and for me, the desire to write was very sudden and extremely unexpected. I was in the back of the family van, and we were out shopping. And I was bored, actually, so I let my mind wander. I was an avid reader, and had on occasion, throughout my childhood, thought, “How cool would it be to write a book someday?”
    But I was fourteen. I was much more interested in my headphones than writing a book. Nevertheless, that day as I sat there, an idea popped into my head, bits and pieces of a plot, and I thought, “Wouldn’t that be a cool book to read?”
    I wrote down my idea, and three months later, found that page and started to write. At 14, I had become a writer.
    I know that it was the Lord that placed that story in my heart, and believing that is what has kept me here, writing the same book for 4 years (4 years on Dec 10, actually). I have never stuck to a project in my entire life, and it surprised my whole family, (including me) when I stuck to it.
    I’m not writing this for fame (although it does distract me). I’m writing this for God, and because I know that somewhere, someday, He is going to use this story to change somebody’s life. And if I work ten years to write one book and it touches one soul, it’ll all be worth it. Thanks for this uplifting article!

  26. Ketriana Yvonne

    I have always as far as I can remember always loved to read books not typical fairy tales or classics but the powerful stuff like metaphysics.A book was given to me by an older person during my young adult days by Anthony Norvel and then I was fascinated by the power of the mind. I have always throughout my life been drawn to Wayne Dyer since his first book Your Erroneous Zones and read all his books until his death this August 30th ,2015 I was an student and journal writer since my teens that was the the extent of my writing I was a reader and a lover of great prose I would tell my former boyfriends who still write me they should write; then one day last year I took a class called Capturing your Poetry to Image. I wondered why I was feeling such resistance to back out of this class but I forged ahead. I met a new friend who happened to be a writer who spoke to my spirit in my voice and I could hear she said “you have wonderful stories you should write” and I listened. I started attending a class weekly at the local library with the New York Writer’s Coalition writing from prompts and now I have connected to my true love writing while all along I was connected to reading I have found my true love.
    Ketriana Y

  27. Crim

    I never woke up one day and decided to be a writer. Writing just became a way of life. It’s like meeting someone randomly at a park or during a conference and then things slowly click, and before yyou know it you’re getting married to them.

    Because I have asperger’s syndrome, communication has always been hard for me. I do not like making eye contact, sometimes I hate large crowds, and other times I turn a conversation awkward because I missed a nonverbal cue or I said the wrong thing. In the midst of this I read everything and anything: News articles, theology journals; fantasy, sci-fi, and gothic fiction; and even all kinds of tweets. In the midst of all this I wrote.

    I wrote in response to the news. I write about what I researched for my master’s thesis. Heck, I write tweets all the time. Of course I also play video games. Know what’s awesome about an MMO? I can meet people while being alone. I can talk to them without needing nonverbal cues and being surrounded by actual people. All I see are walls of text, and all I communicate are walls of text.

    I also write fanfiction. After playing many RPGs, which are really stories with interactive elements told through a video game, I write the things stories do not tell. For example, I play Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II (KOTOR and KOTOR2). In between those games, and in between them and Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), I wrote about what happened to my main characters in those games. I now write fanfiction, and a novel of my main’s back story, for SWTOR. All of this I do and before I knew it I kept writing and writing and writing to the point where I Don’t want to communicate any other way.

    I want to write about everything and anything. I want to write in poems and prose. I want to write about the world around me, and the realms of my fantasy. Yet I can still not pinpoint the one book or one thing that told me I should become a writer.

    Or perhaps I did. Yes… I think it was when I met Jesus Christ and I started living my life with Him and for Him that I started to write more. It gave me an outlet to communicate all things, especially my faith, in a way I could not with simply speaking. After all, according to the Bible Jesus is the Word of God, and Christians believe the Bible is the Word incarnate in human writing. Why can’t I use writing to communicate what I want to say to the world? Why can’t I use writing to communicate what I understand about God and what Jesus means to me?

    Or is Jesus wrapped up more in my gradual development into a writer? Perhaps He is. Or perhaps writing is part of my gradual development into a believer and Jesus wants to direct my gift? Perhaps it’s both/and. It could be both/and. It’s so confusing. Yet not so confusing. I know I did not really focus on writing until after I committed myself to the Lord. Yet I write wholistically about almost everything that comes my way. If I do it, I write about it. Since I follow Jesus, I want to write about Him. If I study and research something, I want to write about what I have learned. Once I read a news story, of course I want to write in the comments.

    Writing is how I respond to God and to the world, it’s how I communicate with the world. Yes, I am a writer because that is how I naturally respond my surroundings and my encounters. No wonder I love technology- It gives me the means to write. God is a writer, and He blessed with this gift.

    But even then, I still cannot pinpoint.

  28. JamesterLee

    I’m an only child. My mind was my playmate. I had a school of imaginary friends. I talked to myself all the time. I loved movies and pictures and books. I loved story. I loved curling up and the world slipping away into this beautiful world someone’s mind created. I cried for the characters. I laughed with them. I got embarrassed for the people in the stories, my friends. After I read a book I would imagine myself as a character in the story. I wouldn’t be myself. I’d imagine as if the author wrote a character I was to play. I’d say my own dialogue aloud while the other characters spoke only where I could hear. I created scenarios and storylines. I wanted to be a part of the story. Creating scenarios from other stories turned into creating my own adventures, people, and worlds. As I got older and faced the constant barrage of inquiries involving what I wanted to be when I grew up I thought of all the scenarios I created in my mind. I wanted to be a teacher. No! A singer. No! A dancer. No! I wanted to be all of it and more. In truth, all of those things added up to one thing. What I really wanted to be was a story teller. Written word is the best way for me to communicate with people. Sometimes I wished I could speak as well as I wrote. I preferred talking to myself in my own little words as it was. When I came to terms with this I realized being a writer was the best way of being myself.

  29. Margaret Piton

    I couldn’t get the 15 minute thing to work, but here goes. I first started writing as a kid–submitted an article to a magazine when I was 10. (It was rejected.) Won a lot of writing contests in school and no sports contests, so it looked like writing might be a good idea, or at least better than sports.
    Had a couple of summer jobs that involved writing in college. Published a guidebook when I was 25, but it didn’t earn much so had to keep working. Worked for several newspapers as a business and travel reporter and columnist. Also wrote for magazines and corporations, your basic freelancer.
    Now I’m trying fiction, inspired by Len Deighton and John Le Carre. It’s a lot harder than nonfiction, but I’m sticking with it.

  30. Katya Hvass

    It is just the very real pain of chronic non-expression – the
    physical sensation of the brain fog, heaviness in the stomach and needing to
    gasp for air – the flashes of thoughts, images, emotions waiting to be recognised,
    unveiled, unravelled for the nausea to finally go away and for some state of
    clarity and peace to emerge even if only for a short time… K 🙂

  31. lauren

    Katie gazed out onto the ocean, She was as dark as the empty night sky, but the glimmer of hope in her heart shone as bright as the moon. She knew someday it would be OK, that it would all work out. She could wait, she’d been waiting her whole life.
    What happened next was what morphed her into the person she had longed to become, she meet Aubrey.
    Aubrey was tall with deep olive skin, jet black hair and piercing blue eyes. She walked towards Katie. Aubrey was wearing a long pattern gypsy skirt that blew slightly with the sea breeze, Katie was mesmerised. Aubrey sat beside her and lit a cigarette before handing one to Katie who, although having never smoked in her life, took it not breaking her gaze on Aubrey. “you look like you need it” Aubrey said in a thick Greek accent.

  32. Anh Nguyen

    I don’t necessarily want to be a writer, I simply started a blog one year ago. And to my surprise, writing has enhanced my life in ways I didn’t though possible. I was able to better articulate my thoughts.

    Even now, I don’t necessarily want to be a writer, it’s just something I do, and enjoy doing. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


  33. nthati

    Am also a writter but am still in grade9 i need someone to guide me on how i should do my writtings

  34. Benjamin Bush

    Benjamin was very little when he began reading, but it wasn’t picture books that he was interested in. Instead, he liked reading chapter books at age five. When he was seven, Benjamin picked up the first Magic Tree House book and flipped through it form beginning to end in less than an hour. Then he read another one, and another, and another . . . until he had grown sick of the story. He then found the first Harry Potter book in a local library and read it in two weeks. He was going to read the rest of the series but his mother said no because she thought that he wasn’t ready. Benjamin instead sneaked those books behind his mother’s back because she didn’t quite understand his obsession with reading. Then one day, Benjamin had the crazy idea of writing his own stories. And so he gathered piles of paper, pencils, and staples and started working.

    He was only eight years old at the time. His entire family was impressed with the stories he wrote, but only because they couldn’t do it. When he got older, Benjamin recognized the flaws in his writing. His handwritten chapter books were rushed and offered little to say, but he wasn’t distraught because he was little when he started. At times he even impressed himself with his first stories. But now at twelve, Benjamin wanted to take things a bit seriously. He reread the Harry Potter and Narnia books and then found the Percy Jackson series for the first time. It was then that Benjamin noticed that he liked writing stories for younger readers. And he thought, “Who would be better to write children’s stories than a kid?” and wrote again, this time with a laptop.

    The next year, his parents divorced and he faced the real world and his responsibilities. He was thirteen years old. He had outlined a series of books for teen readers but had no idea how to publish them once he got them written. He read The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner to get a taste of the market. When he was fifteen, he read Lord of the Rings for the first time and noticed the differences between books for teen readers and those for older audiences. His own stories became more mature and better structured, and finally showed them to his classmates and teachers. Many of them were impressed but there were a few who said they were boring and uninteresting after reading the first page. Benjamin had no idea how to take such negativity and almost gave up on writing, especially after his new stepfather criticized him and said that his dreams are foolish and unrealistic.

    Now seventeen going on eighteen, Benjamin has gained more life experience than his friends and sees how the world works. He understands that not all writers become famous and not all books are as successful as Harry Potter. His expectations and goals are now more realistic and he now knows how hard it will be to stand out in the writing industry. But he also recognizes that all he needs are readers and people to support him, not money or fame. Benjamin knows that he has the potential to be great and that he has a long way to go.


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