Writing is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process that stretches from grade school to the grave. We do not wake up one day accomplished writers, our apprenticeship complete. On the contrary, every day demands a new commitment to this craft, moving us forward – and sometimes backward – in incremental steps that are only apparent when we cast a long look back. To write well, we must make the written word our constant companion – inspiration, nemesis, conscience, and, above all, clay. Never stop kneading and shaping it; never claim to have mastered it, but never despair of making it your servant.
The novelist Walter Mosley put it well when he wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day. The consistency, the monotony, the certainty, all vagaries and passions are covered by this daily reoccurrence. You don’t go to a well once but daily. You don’t skip a child’s breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning. Sleep comes to you each day, and so does the muse.”
And when, at the end of the academic year or after many years in one position, you sift through your electronic and paper files, you will discover that what you wrote each day is more than the sum of its keystrokes. You will find in these documents the work of a bona fide writer.