The scariest creature in the Writer’s Bestiary is the WannaBe. It haunts writer’s conferences and #amwriting hashtags, lurks on blogs and writing sites. It wears a hundred-thousand different skins and sneaks in through open portals of shame, doubt, and indecision. It is strongest during the midnight hours and is the bane of a writer’s existence.
I wish I could tell you this creature is a ghostly myth, but the evidence supporting its existence is clear and indisputable.
As the WannaBe is a skilled shapeshifter, it is impossible to identify by appearance. You will know it by its cry, a refrain of “Someday I will write. When I have time. When I am better with words. When the kids grow up. When I’m retired. When my job is not so demanding. In the spring. In the winter. In the fall. In the summer…”
If you can find it in your heart, spare a moment of silence for the tragedy of the WannaBe. What a sad state, to be so horribly betwixt and between, possessing a writer’s soul without the release of words. Harboring an author’s ambition, but with nary a book to show for it.
Before you betake to your beds, cowering under the covers in fear of this beast, let me tell you the good news.
You can tame the Writer WannaBe.
In this case, the cure is not salt or cold iron or a stake through the heart. Neither is it a chip implanted in the brain. The cure is found in the magic of words.
The WannaBe must write.
“It’s not so easy as all that…” mourns the WannaBe, tears falling like leaves in autumn.
You must acknowledge the truth of this. Boldly look the WannaBe in the eye and say, “Nobody said it would be easy. But if you really want to be a Writer, you can, and must, write words.”
Be prepared. The WannaBe at this time will sing a powerful song of Reasons and Excuses. Violins will appear out of thin air, along with a ticking clock, a tombstone, a grim reaper, and potentially the end of civilization as we know it. If you listen long enough, you too can be possessed and sucked into the WannaBe state. Stand firm.
Regale the WannaBe with a song of your own, being sure to include the magical phrases:
“Fifteen minutes a day will save you,” and “Just start somewhere.” Sing of NaNoWrimo, and your own journey into writing. Do not permit the word should to be spoken, it is an evil that must be excised from the WannaBe vocabulary. And then, be sure to betake you back to your own writing, lest you be possessed of the darkness if you listen to long.