I have been writing professionally now for about ten years and throughout it all I have to say that the one most consistent piece of advice--oftentimes stated as do it or else--is to keep a journal and add to it everyday. Whether it is an author reading at the local book store or a writers' conference I have managed to attend, there is always a multitude of writers and even seminars dedicated to this one facet of writing.
The problem is that I have never been a very good journal keeper. This is not to say that the entries are not good or that I don't understand how to do it. Rather, it is that I am VERY inconsistent, which means I don't do it daily or weekly or monthly. It is a shotgun approach scattered over time, which means that according to many of the authors I have seen, I am breaking the central tenent of being a writer--proudly and obcessively keeping a journal.
This then brings me to the question -- If I don't keep a regular journal, am I truly a writer?
Seems like a simple enough question, but it really cuts to what may be a popular definition of what it means to live the writer's life, or at least a key credential to proving that one does manage to live the writer's life. There is the popular ideal that being a writer is something that a person is driven to. It is an uncontrollable urge that forces somone to feel incomplete if they are not constantly in the act of writing, which often translates into the need to keep a daily journal.
And yet, I find myself constantly longing to write, and constantly writing in one form or another and I have devoted my life to being a writer so the conclusion that I come to is that keeping a journal is an activity unto itself and not a determining factor as to whether one is truly a writer or not.
Of course, people could quible with the fact that so far I am a marginally successful writer whereas the people who have instructed me to be a journal keeper tend to have achieved the milestones of success that I find myself working hard to meet.
At any rate, I am no longer going to worry about it. If I feel like putting something in my journal, then I will do it. If not, so be it.
For more on my writing please take a look at my author page or go to my website at: www.orchardwriting.com.
Causes James Buchanan Supports
Expanding health care in the US, ending war as a viable tool of foreign policy, and issues related to social justice in general.