The wannabe's thoughts go something like this:
I am an amazing writer.
My writing is so good I don't need anyone else to read it before I send it in.
An editor is going to be lucky to have me.
What's a query?
I'll just self-publish and make millions.
My mom thinks I'm a brilliant writer.
I don't need to write every day. I wait for inspiration.
All my friends tell me my writing is fabulous.
What do I need writing conferences for?
I don't need to learn the craft, I'm a natural.
What do I need a critique group for?
The serious writer most likely started out thinking these same thoughts. But the serious writer hungers for truth in a way a wannabe writer doesn't. Even if the truth hurts. The serious writer begins as a wannabee, but doesn't stay one.
I finished reading Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life last weekend. It, of course, was excellent. It gave me food for thought and reaffirmed much. I've made pretty much most of the mistakes mentioned in the book, but that's okay. Because mistakes don't define us as writers. What defines us as writers isn't just that we write, but that we also learn about the craft of writing. That's what separates the wannabe writers from the serious writers.
Amazing writers don't just happen. Even those who have a natural talent or a gift for writing will tell you that it still takes work. They'll tell you that it takes intention and attention. Published authors can testify that publication isn't the be-all, end-all of being a writer. The motivation matters. I am incredibly thankful for this journey, for having the courage to fail, and the perseverance to keep writing anyway.
Where are you on the journey? What steps do you need to take to get serious about writing? Join me, won't you? I'll be waiting...and writing.