A recent article in Forbes was brought to my attention on Kindleboards, and I’m afraid it was with some horror that I read it and tried to digest its message. It is called, quite simply, Why You Should Not Be a Writer.
Needless to say, I can’t really get behind this sentiment. So let’s break it down, shall we? Here’s why you should be a writer.
1. You may not be good at it now, but…
Every author has to start somewhere. Even Shakespeare was terrible at some point. But if you’re committed to this, you’re always working to improve your craft, and you can’t do that unless you write all the time. What are you, if you write all the time? A writer.
The thing you have to remember is that writing is a skill like any other. Anyone can paint a wall; anyone can speak in their native language. But with enough practice and learning, anyone can hone their skill and produce works above and beyond the norm. A master of art creates scenes with line and color that fire the imagination. A master of words does the same with prose.
2. It’s too hard…
It’s one of the most difficult things that you can do with your time. If you were being sensible, you’d take up alligator dentistry rather than subject yourself to this. But there is nothing on earth like the feeling of getting a good review, of seeing a stranger smile and gush and tell you how much they liked your story. There is nothing comparable to spreading that kind of joy.
And you’ll find support and commonality with other writers, who understand the things you’ll never be able to explain to your readers. Why a bad review hurts so deeply. Why you can’t seem to get this particular plot point working. Why you’re watching TV rather than writing the next chapter. They’ll get you through the times when you want to give up, and keep you grounded when your head gets a little too big.
3. It’s tough to make money…
It’s tough to make money in any creative profession. But now, in the age of the Internet, authors have never had such immense opportunities to build their own career and take control of their publishing destiny. Never before have authors had such a huge part in the earning potential of their work. If ever there was a time where all the cards are stacked in their favor, it’s now. So yes, it may be tough to make money, but with hard work and perseverance (and a lot of practice on the art), you can do it.
Writers are a funny, frequently neurotic bunch of misfits from all walks of life. They have one thing in common: the burning desire to tell a story, whether it’s to everyone who’ll listen, or just to the inside of their own head.
You should be a writer if you are one, if you can’t imagine a world where you are not a teller of stories.
You should especially be a writer if nothing, not even an article in Forbes, can make you stop dreaming and stop writing.