Ask a writer how to be a writer and you can bet that the cursory response would either be knitted brows or a scratch in the head. Honestly speaking, the how-to of being someone like how to be a writer, how to be an artist, how to be a mother, is not really defined but lived. That is probably the reason why it is be-ing in the first place. It is because it is a process that is ongoing in the present moment.
So when you ask someone how to be a writer, you can only recommend a few tools that he can use to guide him in his endeavor in becoming a writer. These guiding tools may include the following:
1. Think of an idea
Best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert gave a talk on Ted about nurturing creativity and discussed that all of us "have" a genius. And this genius is forever giving each one of us ideas. There are some people who believe that the same ideas are given to various people. The ones who listen are the ones who give life to these ideas.
The first guide on how to be a writer is to think of an idea, to capture the gift from the genius that is within us. You will be surprised that the one thing that has been bugging you is the very idea that you are meant to give life to— to write.
2. Record the ideas that come up from your original idea
Should you be gifted with an idea by your genius, you need to listen some more and a myriad of other ideas will come rushing forth. Like a tree that suddenly grew millions of branches, your idea gives birth to other ideas and you need to record them.
3. Get the string of ideas organized
After you have gathered the ideas springing forth from your original idea, get them organized. Pruning and tweaking takes place. Discard what is redundant. Put in order what is important. And behold, you have your skeleton of chapters before your eyes.
The last guide on how to be a writer, which is really an endless step, is to write, write and write some more. This is where praxis meets the theory. And the how-to becomes a process. This is when how to be a writer becomes real.
How do you write? Do you listen to the genius within you? What do you want to write about?