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By Johannes Helmold

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being a writer

I think you guys know the website called Quora. If you don’t, it’s a service that allows users to receive answers to questions they post. Anyways, recently I was browsing Quora for questions and answers about writing, and figured out that one of the most frequent questions is, “How do I become a writer?”

It’s good to know people seek to engage in creative professions. However, I think becoming a writer is not possible; you either already are a writer (and don’t know it yet), or you are not a writer. It may sound discriminating, but usually people who aren’t writers never get interested in it, and don’t try to write anything. And on the contrary, even if you haven’t yet written a single line, but plan or want to do it, then you are a writer, and it’s only a matter of skill.

So, for those who feel like being writers, I have a piece of advice. Actually, it’s a mix of trivialities: the rule of 21 days, and the most common advice given to amateur writers—“Write, write, write.” According to psychologists, 21 days is the average period of time during which consciously performed actions become habitual. In other words, if you write something every single day during three weeks, writing will become a habit of yours.

You don’t necessarily have to write lengthy stories—several paragraphs is enough. Even a couple of sentences written daily will contribute to your improvement in writing skills. You don’t have to invent complicated plots as well—starting from primitive plots and slowly progressing is more effective than trying to write another “Forsyte Saga” at once. If you cannot come up with a plot yet, you can record your thoughts and impressions.

Writing is a lot about expressing your thoughts; it is surprising, but few people can do it decently. You can have a great innovative idea for writing a book, but if you express it crudely, it will lose its charm. As soon as your writing becomes smooth, you can proceed to more complicated things, and invent whatever stories you like. Until then, it’s better to focus on technicalities.

Just try writing a small piece of text every day during the next three weeks. I bet you will feel changes in your writing and in life.

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