“If you want to be a writer, do the writing. Chase the feeling …

If you want to be a writer, do the writing.  Chase the feeling.  Follow it faithfully wherever it leads.  Don’t write to be admired.  Don’t write for fame.  Don’t write to get published.  Don’t write because you have something to say.  Don’t write to become immortal.  Don’t write because you think you know the truth.  Don’t write because you have an attitude.  Don’t write to strike a pose in black clothing.  Don’t write to be cool.  Don’t write because you have an image of yourself as you see yourself squinting through the heavy burn of smoke motes rising in stage light from Gauloises cigarettes.  Don’t write only because you are lonely or because you feel deeply, see clearly, know truly, and are one of those who has paid attention to world and to the inner life.  Write for writing’s sake.  Write because you write.  Becoming a writer begins in the act of writing.  Do the writing.  All else is peripheral.  All else is secondary.  Write for the love of words as they appear upon the page.  Write for the love of words as they pass your lips.  Write for the love of language entering the ear.  Write first and foremost for the pure celebration of dictionary music.  It has been said that writers are those who have fallen in love with words and the world.  And yet, if you would become the best writer that you can be, there is something beyond simply ‘chasing the feeling.’

– John B. Lee, from Building Bicycles in the Dark: a practical guide to writing

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