No matter if you’ve been writing for twenty years or if you are thinking about starting a book now – this is a question people will ask you, a question you’ll ask yourself again and again. What is like being a writer? How do I become one? What makes me a writer?
The answer is simple.
If you like writing, no matter if it is fiction, non-fiction, fan-fiction, comics, or the likes, then you are a WRITER.
It took me a while but I realized that being a writer has nothing to do with being published or even being good at it. Those are the end goals or rewards at the end of the journey. Those are the things that keep us late at night with fingers dancing over the keyboard, the things that give us strength and determination.
And I don’t mean it because of the money – unless you’re the next J. K. Rowling or Steven King it’s unlikely that you’ll make millions with the first book. But imagine the number of people your stories will touch, the number of lives they will change, and the number of fans that will freak out the night before the release of your new book.
The lucky ones among us start as storytellers. I remember I was five when I began making fantasy scenarios for our games, giving everybody a character and a role to play. I could barely read then yet I was creating stories – simple, childish but mine.
Then when I grew up a little I started writing fan fiction. Everybody who has done it knows that the experience it’s extremely liberating especially if you’re afraid that your ideas are not good enough or that others will laugh at you having ideas in the first place. Or simply because we fell in love with a world and characters and in the end, we couldn’t handle living outside of that place.
None of those childish stories I wrote were good. I cringe every time I read through one of them and the desire to punch myself in the face would burn forever within me. But I keep them as a reminder.
A great writer is not born, they are created through hard work and perseverance.
Reading my writing today makes me smile and as arrogant as it may sound, reading the writing of other people makes me feel better about myself (I am not talking about well-established and world-renowned writers, naturally) It is just an awesome feeling when you can see how much you’ve grown, how much your writing and your thinking – and your ideas! – have evolved.
So for those of you who feel ashamed when they are asked what they like to do in their free time, for those who have spent hours and hours over their notebook creating a world of magic and adventure but are being rewarded with laughter…
Most people simply won’t understand because they don’t think the way you do. They believe writing is a waste of time, a hobby at best, which should be put aside for work or school or whatever they think rates higher on the ladder of responsibility in their little, narrow world.
But if that were true imagine a world without books or movies or music or any kind of art. If art should be a past-time, a hobby, an impossible task then how would those people, who don’t understand it, live? How many can go through their day without reading a book or turning on the TV or listening to music? If there are no artists to bring color to our grey world what will happen to us?
Be proud of being a writer.
Just like anything else you need to work hard, fail, get up, and try again. As Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”