So You Want To Be A Writer

Matthew Donnellon

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

So, you want to be a writer.

A scribe.

A scribbler.

A word..a word-er? I don’t know I ran out of nicknames for writers.

You want to touch people with the written word. You want your prose to sing and make people weep.

You want people to buy your books by the barrel.

Well you have some things you need to do.

I know what you’re thinking he’s going to say start writing.

Hahahaha, you think you become a writer by writing?


These are the things you need to start doing.

Cultivate Your Writing Aesthetic

First get yourself a tweed jacket. A tweed jacket? You ask. Yes. Tweed. With Elbow patches. I have have three of them myself. Even my dog has one. She looks adorable.

See you have to look the part and nothing says writer like tweed jacket.

Next, get yourself a typewriter. A typewriter?, you say. Yes, how else are you going to curate that perfect #amwriting lifestyle on Instagram and Pinterest. You have to look the part if you want to get the part.

Start Writing Advice Lists

You’ve written a lot now. At least three articles. Heck, you’re basically an expert. In fact, you could probably teach writing in some places.

So it’s never too soon to start sharing that wisdom you’ve gained from being a writer for a day and a half.

It doesn’t matter that Brandon Sanderson has a step by step process video series on Youtube for free and you could get an old copy of On Writing for 50 cents at a used bookstore. Naw, you tell what you’ve learned in an afternoon.

Make sure to tell everyone to write a lot. No one’s figured that out yet.

Email Lists



You don’t have an email list? You didn’t start it three years before you wanted to be a writer. You need to get started. There are middle schoolers with Email lists now.

In fact your whole life are email lists now.

Actually you shouldn’t speak or do anything that isn’t an email list.

What don’t have anything to say?

Doesn’t matter just start emailing. Email like it’s 1997 and you just got AOL.

Wonder Why No One wants To Read Your Stuff

You’ve written half a haiku, three pages of a novel, and the first six lines of a screenplay.

Look at all the work you’ve put out. Why isn’t anyone reading it? It’s practically shortlisted for the Pulitzer.

Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with your rudimentary prose. It’s them.

Make sure to wax poetically, bonus points if you do it in a public forum, about your lack of readership. It can’t be because you’ve only been writing for four and half minutes. Nope. It’s the readers’ fault. It’s always the readers’ fault.

Talk About How Hard Writing Is

Writers love doing this so if you want to be a writer. You need to say it loud and say it proud. Memes, tweets, Instagram posts.

You got to tell everyone how hard it is to be a writer.

Everything about writing is hard.

Typing is sometimes hard. Mention that.

Having a slow day? Make sure you tell every person you know.

And if you get writer’s block. Treat it like the disaster it is.

I once told my friend and neighbor how hard writing is. He had just got home from working as an airplane mechanic where he was working on an airframe in the 100 degree heat. I had just spent ten hours on the couch in the air conditioning with Netflix in the background. I tried telling him how hard writing is, but I don’t think he got it.

So if you want to be a writer these are the things you need to start doing.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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