Last week I wrote about my goal for 2017 as a writer and what I plan to do to meet that goal in 2017.

Goals and plans are more important to make than resolutions, but I do have one writer resolution for 2017 and it is this…

View writing as the work that it actually is and do that work.

Sometimes I get lost in this romanticized version of what being a writer actually is. I can go on Instagram right now and find thousands of pictures of people in coffee shops doing their writing thing. I can post a picture of my laptop open to my work in progress and a cup of coffee next to my laptop and a cat in the background and get hundreds of likes.

That doesn’t make me a writer.

I can do a quick Google search and find hundreds of quotes from writers about being a writer. I can make those quotes more motivational by putting them over a picture of the writer that said them or over a picture of a typewriter or even over a picture of papers and pens scattered on a desk.

That would make me feel good about being a writer, but that would not make me a writer.

I could read On Writing again. I could surf around the internet finding blogs and videos and podcasts about writing in an attempt to learn everything I can learn about writing. I can tell myself I am being productive because I am learning about the craft or the industry or finding motivation to write.

But none of that is writing.

Sitting around and dreaming about being a full time working writer is not being a writer. I can do all those things I just mentioned to be motivated to write or to find ideas and inspiration to write. I can read books and listen to podcasts to educate myself and learn more. But there is a fine line that should not be crossed.

On one side of the line I am looking at these things for motivation and inspiration and education. On the other side of the line I am looking at these things as a distraction and a way to procrastinate from doing the work that it takes to be a writer. These things should not be done in place of writing.

Thinking about being a writer is not writing.

In 2017 I resolve to force myself to look past the romanticized version of being a writer that most people have in their heads and stare the work right in the face. I am going to sit at the computer every single day and face off with the writing that needs to be written. One word at a time until I have the tens of thousands of words I need to finish the project I am working on at that moment.

It is very easy to dream about being a writer and to do just enough work to fool yourself into thinking you are actually a writer. It is another thing to actually work at being a writer.

And this year I stop fooling myself and start doing that real work that actually matters.