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Becoming a Writer with Orna Ross

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Orna Ross

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From 2002 to 2008, I ran a writing school and literary agency in Dublin and brought a number of writers to publication. Through that work I met so many new writers who had barely put pen to page before asking about how to find an agent or get published.  They never wanted to hear that this is like trying to whip the cart down the road without having harnessed the horse.

They wanted to be ‘A Writer’ without accepting what that means – That you’ve got to do the work. Lay down sentences and paragraphs, like an athlete lays down miles. Put words through your fingers, like a musician drums scales. Go on your knees to the mysteries of inspiration, like a priest before an altar.

That writing has to be, or become, more important to you than at least two of the following: money, family, friends, TV/web.

That you’ve got to have principles and practices that cocoon and strengthen your inner self, keeping it safe from the buffeting of outer distractions.

That publication can be one of the noisiest of those distractions.

Becoming A Writer.

As you forge your connection to the act of writing, you will find yourself making vows: “I’m going to write every day”; “I’m going to write 5000 words every week until I have a first draft”, “I’m going to finish the book by Christmas”.

Vows you will inevitably break.

You will work harder than you have ever worked at anything else and see yourself fall short.  You will read back words that took weeks or months to get right — and hate them with a nauseated passion.

You will feel in your core what Iris Murdoch meant when she said: “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.” And you will probably resent that it is so hard. And that nobody seems to care.

But you’ll come back round again.

Because nobody does care, not really. Nobody out there asked you to do this.  The call came from inside and that’s the bond you must strengthen. That’s what will enable you to forgive yourself for the broken vows and the work that never lives up to your vision. That’s what will bring you to a true understanding of what writing gives — and what it asks in return.

If, in that understanding, you come to realise there is nothing else for you, you simply must write, then it is that – not getting a publisher or an agent or an audience –  that makes you a writer.

About the author

© Orna Ross 2011

Orna Ross’s new Audio – Inspiration Meditation: A Guide For Writers Artists & All Conscious Creators – is now available to buy, price £3.99. Featuring a guided inspiration meditation, creative visualisation and music by sound supremo, Kimba Arem. Further details: HERE

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