Anyone Can Be a Writer: Fact or Fiction?
Photo by Dominika Roseclay
Today, anybody who desires to write a story can become an author. Take Walter Clark Boutwell, author of the trilogy Old Men and Infidels, for instance. Even with no literary background, he was able to finish a three-book series.
There’s a specific weight attached to the title of a writer, a particular light that catches people’s attention and interest. When people find out about someone being a writer, especially an author, the default reaction is to be stricken with awe. While everyone can write a few sentences to a few paragraphs, at most, it’s a different story when people can write a full-blown novel and use it to earn or as something they’re passionate about.
The art of writing has existed for thousands of years. From carving narratives in sticks and stones to printing them on paper, writing has been passed on across generations. However, while this has been around for time immemorial, the world still isn’t brimming with books.
This merits the question of why?
What It Takes to Be a Writer
Anyone can be a writer. This is a popular ideology most people believe in and is somehow exacerbated by the fact that most published authors now don’t have any literary background.
While it’s a skill that’s looked up to, writing can also be belittled. After all, everyone has undergone classes where they answered essays and created stories. In short, everyone has had a chance to write, and most have accomplished the task. Anyone reading this might as well believe that they can write such an article, and they may do so differently.
What separates one writer from another is the determination and enough interest to spend hours writing. And what makes a writer suitable is the experience that polishes their skills.
Most popular and successful authors have dreamt of penning books at a young age. From that seedling, they have worked hard to achieve this dream by studying literature or joining school activities related to writing. On the other hand, some authors do just as well without prior and extensive background. They can write a story without years of experience and with just a simple plot idea.
Someone who takes a lot of the latter’s character is the author of the series Old Men and Infidels. Growing up, he didn’t have a touch of literature in his life. He spent most of his days learning to be a physician and only began writing when he met someone during one of his trips. With the inspiration he gained during this fateful meeting, Boutwell first drafted what was supposed to be a short story. However, this simple storyline morphed into a two-book, now a three-book series.
What Differentiates an Experienced Writer?
Boutwell may well be the exception to the rule. And experience doesn’t necessarily lead to excellent outcomes. But this doesn’t mean that to hold a pen and paper and write an adventure, they must strictly have prior educational background or experience. After all, everybody starts with zero experience and will only acquire better skills if they push through after their first.
Anyone can start writing. It doesn’t necessarily take an academic degree to weave words into beautiful stories, either fiction or non-fiction. While experience isn’t necessary for creating, it does polish an ability. Hence, an experienced writer may be better versed in writing than someone with none.
Does this mean they can produce better results? Not necessarily. But whenever they encounter setbacks during their project, those with experience can better cope and handle the situation. Writing isn’t just revolving around translating thought into paper. There may be instances of people losing will or feeling stuck with their writing. Someone with experience has already encountered this issue, which will improve how they react and manage it.
Above gaining more experience, someone interested in becoming a good writer is open to criticism. Experience won’t fare well if nobody points out mistakes needed to be changed along the way. Anyone can write, but this capability won’t always translate well on paper if there isn’t change or growth.
Anyone can write. But to become good at it, one must put in a lot of work. It isn’t simply about putting words on paper. Instead, writing is channeling discipline and attention to detail into one’s work. While an educational background isn’t necessary, a firm grasp of the language and vocabulary is helpful. Experience can hone one’s skills. But without openness to criticism, experience isn’t valuable.At the end of the day, inspiration is an excellent foundation for a story. But more than this might be needed to push one to finish a book.