When talking to anyone, especially kids, about writing, I tell them you only need to do two things to be a writer: read and write.
You don’t have to read any one specific thing. You don’t have to write a certain amount or with any specific frequency. Reading anything will give you experience in how your own writing should (or shouldn’t) sound, and writing will keep you in practice of putting words down and develop your own personal style.
Just read. Just write.
When a friend and patron of a library job long, long ago invited me to not only participate in her online series #ConvosWithWriters, but be her first live interviewee at Lakes Community High School’s Writers Week, I jumped at the opportunity.
What a thrill! What an honor! What on earth could I tell these kids about writing when I, myself, wasn’t really a writer?
Except that I am a writer, I reminded myself. I read a whole lot and I write a little. And sure, my writing isn’t always toward my pie in the sky goal of becoming a published novelist, but it’s writing nonetheless. It’s out there on social media, sometimes here at this blog, often in my offline journal, and published worldwide when on assignment for my School Library Journal reviews.
It’s writing. And that’s all that matters.
It’s enough for me to consider myself one, and it’s enough for a local columnist with a feature literally about writers to count me as enough of a writer to chat about it.
So here’s your reminder (and mine, again): just read, just write, and you are a writer.
Now, get writing.
After you read my interview about writing, that is.