On the bus this morning, I started to write a post recording the path I followed in my current somewhat obsessive desire to be a writer. Tonight we went to drinks at a friend's house who has been able to make the jump to full time writing, I felt so envious.
Maybe one day I will bring up this morning's post. However, it was a bit too revealing for my taste.
To write professionally, you have to be obsessive. You also need to know certain techniques. Of the two, obsession is the most important.
I did not have have the techniques when I was younger. I learned these. But then, I didn't have the obsession either. My friends such as Alex Buzo who did make the jump were obsessive.
Today, potential writers have access to so much more than I had: writer festivals, writer's workshops; the list goes on. The things I wrestled with in a technical sense are, if not solved, at least reduced to techniques. Yet without the focused obsession, things don't happen or happen more slowly.
Thinking on the bus, If I had to give advice to a young writer today I would say just two things.
First, the only way to learn to write is to write: write, write and then write again.
Secondly, keep a writer's diary. You need this for raw material, regardless of the writing you want to do and in what medium. With a writer's diary you can record not just ideas, not just the world around you, but also experiments in writing.