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There might be thousands of writers out there, yet it is not easy being a writer. It requires efforts equal to any other art form or a serious job. You don’t become a writer by just writing once in a while and never revisiting your work. You become a writer when you absolutely love writing and manage to find enough time to do it; are constantly working hard to improve your skills; read as much as you can about writing so that you can do better; can find something interesting enough to write about, every other day.

Each small step you take makes a difference and takes you closer to your goal. And, the goal in question is always the same – being a writer and loving it for the sake of it! If you don’t love being a writer, you might as well not be!

Know it – that it is going to be tough. You have to sacrifice your sleep, TV time, internet-surfing time and all the unproductive stuff. You have to forget about the real world and get into your writing as if only that world exists. You have to write, no matter what. If you don’t have it in you…better quit and forget about becoming a writer.

First, you have to become a writer, then you can think of publishing, making money, being famous etc. But the work comes first. There is no other way to do it. There might be many easy ways to earn money, if that’s your purpose, being a writer ain’t one of them! Of course, you could make money by writing things that get the attention of mass…but that success will be as short-lived as a reader’s attention. I am assuming that most of the authors do not run after money and success…they just want to be recognized for being an author and for loving what they do.

As a budding writer, you must have heard this advice often – read a lot. And you know what, it’s true. Apart from writing stuff as often as you can (article, story, poem, novel, blog post etc), you must spend a lot of your free time on reading stuff others have written. You can stumble upon good support material for your writing, you will know what are the kind of works already present in your preferred genre, you can guess what kind of material is being read and is popular. And very important, you will be able to connect to other new writers who might be in a similar situation as you and would turn out to be a good help. Sometimes, you can spark a new friendship there! There are so many advantages of reading, especially in the current era, when Google is like a best friend to a writer. This is an era of information…grab anything and everything that is available on this magic land called internet and use it for betterment of your writing!

I have been writing for more than 20 years, but I took it up seriously only a few years back…I love it more day by day! As I get deeper into this realm of writing, I evolve and I learn, and I enjoy it even more. Writing can be learned/improved only by more writing. You have to bring yourself to a level where you are practically living in the world of writing – unless you see every single situation with a writer’s eyes, unless you are looking for a new story every single awake moment of yours, and unless every conversation you are a part of, instigates the author inside you…you still are not ready. You still have a long way to go.

I am not saying you should shun all your other responsibilities and just write, but the desire to do so should be fierce in you. There are situations in everyone’s lives which lead to postponement of your dreams, but if you can keep that dream alive till you are, you have potential to live it some day. That day will soon come. The speed at which it arrives into your life to become a part of you, depends entirely on how strong your wish is to make sacrifices in the present to give yourself that chance in the future.

Yes, being a writer, you will almost never see immediate results. Unfortunately, for some, they never come. But are you willing to take that risk? Are you ready to take a plunge in the dark, just having the weapon of passion with you and with no promise of ever making it big? If your answer is yes, my dear friend, you are absolutely ready. Just go for it!

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If you are trying to be a writer, along with a home maker, full-time working woman…it is got to be tough! But you have the passion, and you love writing…you are ready to make sacrifices – you can sacrifice sleep, your favorite TV show, your moments of rest, then you probably have enough opportunities to steal the time from the day. All you have to do is just lookout for the short moments of being alone. Then, grab them, and turn them into your moments of ‘writer time’.

Let’s say you start early like me. As soon as you are awake, switch on the ‘writer mode’ and while you finish the household chores, try to do the thinking part of your writing piece. Of course, you have to listen whole heartedly to the children; so when you need to, keep a book mark at the thought in that moment, and switch off the writer mode. I do it all the time. I can always go back to the same thought once again, start imagining the story exactly from where I left. This requires some practice, but as far as I know, if you let your thoughts wander away, you will only gain as a writer 🙂 Let the mind wander, just keep visualizing the work at hand and you will be fine. I have sometimes imagined the most impressive line/dialog or even the ending in this manner.

Then, when you have to commute to the office for longer than 10 minutes and you do not drive yourself, take out your laptop and start writing, whatever you had thought throughout the morning. If you do not have a laptop, pen down the words on a paper. I always try to keep a notepad with me, so that I do not miss an idea. I realized this the hard way! I understand, it will be a task to transfer the writing piece to laptop/PC later, but that would be less time-consuming if you have already composed. Also, while copying the work to PC/laptop, you could actually review it! When you are done, you will have the proof-read draft version and will not need to visit it again with the intent of correcting small mistakes! It is time-saving after all! I remember writing a story on the way to an interview, a poem on the way to visit someone. It is fun! If suppose you do not even have a piece of paper, just take anything writable (back of an ATM slip, tissue paper, even your palm) and note down one or two words that would preserve your idea and you can develop it later. This is one way of ensuring you do not have to bump your head to remember what it was that you wanted to write and losing the idea forever. Many writers will tell you that they have lost some wonderful ideas by not writing them down immediately. And with my experience I know that how much ever you scratch your head later on, sometimes, you cannot remember!

Sometimes, it might happen that however hard you try, you cannot do anything creative on the way. Well, I mostly force myself saying I have to do it since otherwise, I am not serious enough about my writing. Sometimes, nothing works, and then, I use that time to finish some task pending task from work and then, use the scheduled time for the latter  to write. And sometimes, I use the commute time to just relax, observe my surroundings and let my mind wander.

There was a time when I used to think I would either write the whole thing in one go or wouldn’t do it. I would sit down to write only when I had enough time to finish it. That was when I used to write poetry…and I thought a poem couldn’t be composed if you lose the flow. Well, I realized because of this habit, I ended up not writing many things I thought of. Hence, I changed my habit. But old habits die hard. Many a times, when I sit down to write something just before going to sleep and I tell myself I will write only for 40 minutes since I need to wake up early, I hardly stick to the time limit. When I finally switch off my laptop, it is many times over 90 minutes! So, I end up losing my sleep and bear the consequences the next day. But in the end, it is worth it. I feel productive.

There is another way I steal some time from my day. We all have those moments when you are preparing for a meeting and you realize that you are done and still there are 10 more minutes before the meeting begins. Steal those 10 minutes to write even a couple of lines, or use them to read through what you intended to read for the purpose of reviewing. Though it is not much you will achieve within just 10 minutes, but think how those minutes will accumulate into hours over a time period!

Then, there are those times when you are cooking and you are waiting for the curry to cook and you need not do anything in those 15 minutes, well, write! Or when you are watching your favorite show or movie on TV, you can use the breaks, which are mostly unproductive, to write. Perhaps you do not have enough time to write on the laptop, then write on a paper. Again, think of the cumulative effect of those few minutes you steal from your day on a regular basis.

So as many writers must have said it before, I am going to repeat. Writing is a hobby and you write because you love writing, but you are not writing for the purpose of not getting read. In fact, every writer writes for getting read. In order to achieve that, you need to finish the task – a blog post, an article, a story, an essay…it needs to be complete before anyone can read it. To complete it in one go is not possible, even with a short post/story. And you might not have enough time daily in your routine to fix a schedule of work for yourself. However, you can steal time – little bit every day and still get the work done. Don’t we finish our office deadlines? Today, I got up 40 minutes later than my usual time and I still managed to send the kids to school at the same time! I am sure we all have had such days, but we still manage to make sure that we stick to our time lines for all the regular tasks, so why not for your writing? Try making a habit and stick to it most of the time. When you are able to accomplish even a single task, you will be motivated to practice this more.

But there is one thing about stealing the time – you should not define any rules for it. You cannot tell yourself that everyday at such and such time, I will write for 10 minutes. It is good if you can stick to the rule, but with stealing, there is always an unpredictability associated with it. Hence, it might frustrate you if you try to make any rules around it. It is better to just find some time any time of the day. That way, the zeal also remains intact; routine can be boring. You need to be flexible enough to understand and identify the days when you are more motivated and utilize them to maximum while the days when you don’t feel like writing, you could use to relax or read or research.

This technique of stealing is not only for writing, you could use it for so many other things in your every day routine. Try it for a week and see how much you gain out of it…

Your thoughts?

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