Are You a Good Writer?

Male ProfileWhether you write professionally or personally, I’m betting you have a little voice in your head that asks you once in awhile if you think that you’re actually a writer, and if you really think that you’re good at it. Sometimes, that voice may even tell you that you’ll never have a book or story published, and that you shouldn’t even bother trying. I have been working as a writer for years now, and I still get that voice in my head. I had my first flash story published a short while ago, and that nasty little voice still tells me that it was a fluke. I write for businesses every day, and my work is proven to increase their profitability, but I still get that miserable little voice in my head telling me that I’m just not up to par.

Why? Because a big part of human emotion and intelligence is to question everything. Unwavering confidence is just about non-existent, and humans are really good at making others feel as if they’re just not good enough. Sad, but very true.

It’s hard to picture yourself as the next Rowling or Tolkien when you’re sitting in a cramped space with a dated laptop typing away with a chipped coffee mug to your left and an overstuffed and sagging bookshelf to your right. We only know authors after they have come to grandeur, we don’t know them before. We forget that they probably felt like every single one of us, wondering if their story will ever be worth reading, and if putting all of this time in is really, really worth it. They probably wondered, just like I do, if they were actually good writers or if they overestimated their skills. It’s human nature to question everything, big or small. Do what you love and let the rest come as it will.

We, as readers and writers, during this electronic age, have also developed new ways to hurt each other. Being able to avoid eye contact while leaving a nasty comment or a bad review leads to overly zealous opinions. Writing forums are sometimes cesspools of negativity and egoism when they should really be a resource for anyone who wants to give them a go. Finding good, true, and helpful advice and feedback is almost as hard as getting the bloody ring to Mordor. Resources are few and far between if you want to avoid being torn to shreds and being sold a service or product. Remember that although your work might need fixing, it’s never as bad as your worst review. Remember that there are good people out there that will give you advice when you need it without making you feel small and without charging you.

And lastly, remember that there is an audience for anything. If Japan can sell half of the things it does, someone out there is just waiting for your story. Someone will love your style and your characters. Someone is waiting to read the story that you wrote, with all of its blood, sweat, and tears. Someone will find it brilliant, someone will learn something from it, and someone will find it to be well written. Not everybody, but somebody. Remember that your work comes from you, and it’s a brave and courageous thing to put such a personal and internal piece of yourself out into the world for others to read. Remember that, as a writer, you have a million different worlds sitting in your fingertips.

You have power. You are brave. You are a lion. If you think you are a good writer, you certainly are. If you have the guts to write, you are a writer. If you have the drive and the need to let your thoughts spill onto paper, you are a writer. You don’t have to do it professionally, you don’t have to want to do it for a living. You don’t have to have published work. You just have to do it.

Doing that makes you a writer, and only you can judge if you’re a good one.

Are you a writer? Let me hear you roar!


34 thoughts on “Are You a Good Writer?

  1. Roar!
    Oh dear, now the neighbors are thinking there’s a lion loose around the building.

    I do still wonder sometimes if I’m as good a writer as I like to think I am. But that voice has been less prominent these days. I think that’s because a few people I know have been reading my books and they say that, even if it isn’t their normal genre or they’re getting nightmares, they can’t stop reading and they’re enjoying the story. So I keep working hard and I keep hoping for and looking for ways to increase my readership. And maybe someday I’ll be as successful as I’d like to be (which would be being able to write full-time. That would be nice!).

    Oh, and I like that quote about Japan. Some of the stuff from over there is really zany, and yet it sells so well there and around the world. Fairy Tail, One Piece, even that Miyazaki film about the raccoon dogs. If they can do it, so can we!

  2. Thank you for writing this post Brittany…I often think whether I am a good writer or not…there are days when I feel confident about my work but then there are days when I feel that I suck and I should actually give up…but thanks to my husband who keeps supporting me…

    I don’t know what defines a good writers…but I am enjoying myself as a writer…it has shown me a new world and given a new horizon yo explore πŸ˜€

  3. Meow! I am a professional Typoist! But I have fun blogging. I’m good for a good paragraph or even 1/2 a page, but then the urge to write creatively leaves me! LOL

  4. You say, “If you think you are a good writer, you certainly are”. Are you joking! Writing is a craft and an art and takes hours and hours of practice like anything else to become even proficient.

    • No, I’m not joking. I think that whatever stage that you are in in your writing journey, you are a good writer for continuing to improve, for continuing to practice, and for knowing that you can do better. Obviously, we don’t jump out of the womb and exist as good writers, but the people who have been reading and writing for years and years, many of whom read this blog, deserve some recognition and encouragement for pushing as hard as they do.

  5. Thank you, I just write as an expression for me and just to share but I like how you say if you write you are a writer. I also like it when you say that someone will like your work, I think that goes for a lot of areas of your life. I can doubt what I’m thinking and doing sometimes, so it’s a good reminder that I need to keep doing what I’m doing and move forward.

  6. As always, it’s comforting to know other writers also suffer from self-doubt and second-guessing. Helps me to think, when I doubt myself, that I’m not just doubting myself because clearly I’m not good – but everyone does that, it’s just what humans do.

    Always find myself fluctuating from “I am a pretty dang good writer and I can’t wait to finish polishing up this manuscript” to “I know I’m not the worst writer ever, but I’m definitely terrible. I should burn this MS. No one should see how terrible it is.”

  7. At times the roar is a faint squeek, but it’s still there. Writing is something I never thought I’d do. You know the drill, some snide remark made by a techer a few decades ago, that left me believing that I suck at writing. Lo and behold, in the last few years I’ve found my voice, and now I can’t stop writing. Still there are days I think all my writings are crap, but thankfully those days are quite far apart.

    • I do know the drill, but more from forums or other similar places. I was lucky enough to have consistently pleasant English teachers. I’m glad you found your voice again and I hope you enjoy using it!

  8. Thank you for writing this. As I publish more and more on my blog and read other people’s pieces, I have started to get intimidated. There is so much talent out there! Some people are award winning, on Huffington Post and seem to be masters at their crafts. Yesterday I took a deep breathe and told myself to just enjoy what I’m doing, put the words down on paper and stop comparing myself. I am going to print out your post as a reminder by my desk. Thank you!

    • It’s always intimidating, I think. Whether you are well-versed in writing or not. I’m glad that you found the post helpful, and try not to feel intimidated by others who have written for newspapers or publishers, they had to start somewhere too! πŸ™‚

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