Here are some thoughts:
- Wanting to “be a writer” is, generally speaking, not a good sign. That suggests not a commitment to a vocation but wanting to see yourself, or to be seen by others, in a particular way. By contrast, to have a story that you’re desperate to tell; to have some truth you want to serve, and share with others; to find the crafting of sentences irresistible — those are good signs, because they suggest a person turned outward rather than inward, and the most worthwhile writing is done by people who are turned outward.
- Writing that matters will therefore be in service to something or someone, and in order to serve well, you must undergo training and discipline. You have to learn things. You have to have a full mind as well as a lively heart. First you must develop the expertise of crafting sentences, and this can only be done by, first, reading and reading and reading. There is no other path than hard-earned expertise to producing anything that’s worth the time and attention of readers. Why should anybody care what you think? You must earn their care through especially vivid writing, or especially clear thinking, or especially detailed knowledge — or (ideally) some combination of the above.
- It takes many years to develop any genuine expertise. That doesn’t mean you don’t share your thoughts along the way, but remembering it should keep your expectations in line. Remember, Jesus didn’t begin his public ministry until he was thirty; all those previous years were spent in preparation.
- Normally I despise self-help books and “creativity” books, but there are two exceptions, and both of them are by the same person, Austin Kleon: Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Small books, but really wise. They’ll lead you to some other good things, also.