On Becoming a Writer

February 2, 2016

 

Rainer Maria Rilke once said that “your solitude will be a support and a home for you”, and this has certainly been true for me, particularly when I write - Canadian poet, Brittan Oakman

 

 

The first year I decided to be a writer was very painful.  I had to sit alone in a room.  Often, I fled the discomfort and loneliness and drove to the beach, went for a hike, to the movies, or met somebody for lunch. I had to make friends slowly with solitude.

 

There is no secret method or key for becoming a writer, really. Solitude is a practice. In discomfort, comfort is found. Within loneliness, love is found. Within quiet, the voice is finally heard. And the writer becomes known.

 

When I write best, how I write best, finding a mentor, getting into a piece, the writing hours (morning is best for me) and duration (depends upon my business hours, piece flow and inner determination) -  these personal discoveries required time. 

 

Some writers like Lena Dunham or David Foster Wallace (I can't believe I put those two names together in a sentence!) hit a target fairly early in the game. But most of us do not.  I didn't even recognize that I had a voice until I was twenty-seven. And then, it took me a decade and two finished novels to feel like maybe I was a writer.

 

You cannot know how to be a writer without practice. It is unkind and disrepectful to think it must be so. And most likely, needing it to happen right away, is killing the birth and growth of your good writing. 

 

Now, in my third decade, I am comfortable with solitude. It's a luxury and a necessity that I demand, even in my busy life.  It's how I get the work done.

 

There is no time frame. There is only solitude. There is only practice. 

 

This is how you become a writer.

 

 

*Need help practicing? That's what I'm here for 

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