I wrote an article a couple of weeks back telling people that the act of writing doesn’t make one a writer. There were waves. There were angry emails. There was a barrage of supportive private messages. It seems everyone had an opinion on what it takes to be a writer.
So, in the wake of the conversation, I’m going to write another article on what it takes to be a writer.
1) For details, read the previous article here.
2) Never let criticism deter you.
If you’re the type of person who lets every bad word slung in your direction send you to bed crying, honey, writing isn’t for you.
Let’s go over a few things as explanation.
1) Your family and friends LOOOOOOOVE your writing! Well. La-dee-freaking-dah. That isn’t good enough. Have you had someone who loves you, truly loves you, tell you they hate it? If they did, how did you take it?
Being a writer is hard. Like with any art, it’s an extension of your soul. You offer it up willing and say “Here world, shit all over my very life’s blood because no matter what you say and do I’m going to keep writing.” Because that is what you do if you are really a writer.
People gonna hate. That should really read “People gonna hate you.” But it can’t be a deterrent. To be a writer, you have to have the pathological obsession with 1) words, 2) the very act of writing, and 3) the need to shove it in other peoples’ faces what you’re doing.
2) I write for me and no one else. Well. La-dee-freaking-dah. I hear this one a lot. You know what? I write for me too. I am the audience when I sit down and write a poem, a short story, a novel. I aim to please myself first and foremost with the story. I also know, however, that deep down there is someone I want to reach out to with that piece of writing. It doesn’t matter what size the intended audience is, if there is any audience then #3 applies to you.
As with #1, the obsession with words is also a writer’s way of saying “Aren’t I clever?” Whether we’re a simple or bloated writer, we love finely crafted words. We’re the ones who jot down (or simply underline within the text) a beautiful phrase we read somewhere. We’re the ones who spend an hour writing, revising, and rewriting one five-word sentence.
#2? I covered that a bit in the previous article. If you don’t physically, emotionally, and mentally want to sit down and write; if it doesn’t give you a little thrill that you are about to create a world that didn’t exist until right then; if writing is nothing but pure torture without any physical, emotional, or mental satisfaction derived and you’re only waiting to type THE END so you can be published, this profession isn’t for you.
Yes I anticipate receiving more messages and email after this article. Yes I expect some of it to be belligerent, asking me who the hell I think I am. I say bring it. Because I am a writer. I welcome criticism, or else I wouldn’t be a writer. What I want others to ask themselves is if they think they are truly writers? Is it in their bones?
So, I want to know, do you still think you can writer?