You can’t become a writer simply by reading. You can’t. No more than you can read a book about basketball and expect that to make you a great basketball player. 

You have to do it. You have to write. You have to put your rear in the chair. You have to write short stories. You have to write poems. You have to write books. 

You have to get feedback. You have to take it in. You have to look critically at your own work. You have to revise. 

You have to get more feedback.

You have to write more stories. More books. 

You learn by doing. Not by thinking about it. Not by studying it. Not by watching others do it—if that were the case, we’d all become better ball players simply by watching televised NBA games.

You have to write. 

It’s hard at first. It is. It is so hard to just get started. Getting started gets easier as time goes on. 

But you have to do it. You have to dribble awkwardly. You have to chase the ball across the court. 

After a while, the ball stops feeling so foreign and strange in your hands. You can race down the court. 

You have to write clunky sentences. You have to. In order to eventually write beautiful sentences.

You have to do it. You have to write.

But then something miraculous will happen: You'll become better. No--not just better. You'll become good. It will become part of you. And you'll know: Whatever else happens in life, you'll just have to write.