I’m doing a session for Free College Day at the college where I teach. It’s a fun way to bring people in to try out courses for fun. The professors choose subjects interesting to them. Things they don’t normally teach. For me it’s an opportunity to talk about those people who want to write and those people who do.
A lot of people wonder if they have what it takes to be a writer. After all, everyone has a book in them. They’ll tell you about it the minute they hear you’re a writer. The reality is that guidelines aren’t chiseled into a stone tablet or engraved on a plaque. There is no magic button you can press to determine if you are or aren’t writer material. Which is why so many people still have that book “in them” instead of on the page.
If you need the reassurance of someone telling you you’re a writer, you aren’t. If you need reassurances that you have talent, find another interest. In this one, even if you have talent, you may never see your work in print. If you write for that purpose, your chances of disappointment are too high. Writing requires more hard work than good thoughts and while good luck can come in handy, if the time isn’t put in then the work won’t stand up under scrutiny.
If you’re a writer, it’s because there are no other options for you. In spite of the agony, the despair, and the frustration there is no path that brings you the joy writing does. No one can convince you differently, because being a writer is deep in your gut. This is me. Would I like reassurance? Sure. Would I like hearing someone say I have talent? Do pigs love mud? But I won’t wait around for it because I’m too busy writing and writing and writing some more.
What about you, are you a have-to-be or a want-to-be writer?