“I don’t know, I had this session with a psychic the other day and she/he said I should be writing.”

Well, of course they did. Are they going to say “You should be coaching a basketball team” or  “working on a construction crew” or “designing an aerodynamically advanced motor vehicle for the 21st century?”

No, because that’s not safe for psychics.  Writing is a shoe-in because the skill sets are already in place. And the way to make anyone think they have a special calling is to appeal to the belief that we all have a special calling. Maybe we do and maybe we don’t, but I say, don’t wait for a psychic. If you want to write something…anything…there’s nothing stopping you. But if you want to learn how to do it and the principles to sustain you beyond that first blush of inspiration and keep you in motion, that’s when you can begin make a relationship with practice.

Storytelling is an activity we all engage in quite naturally and writing is another way of elevating that activity in a more permanent and public way.  Maybe that’s the part that psychics don’t say. After all, how romantic would it be to hear “I’m sensing here is that you need to be having the experience of re-writing” or “recognizing passive verbs,” even “kill your sweethearts.” I don’t think that would make you pick up the phone.  Still, those are some of the various elements that constitute practice and practice is the engine that drives excellence.

A word about practice: As Ray Bradbury points out in his delicious and juicy ZEN AND THE ART OF FICTION, a marathon runner has the impulse to run, but wouldn’t try it without training for months and months. A surgeon may have the impulse to operate but who would sign up on his impulse alone—and live to tell the tale?

If you want to write, you don’t need a psychic to tell you; it’s something you already know.