You’re not a real writer if your writing isn’t literary. If you don’t stay up all night bent over a keyboard or notebook, hand aching. If you dwell in the fantastical and impossible, instead of augmenting the real and important.
My entire life I’ve been a writer and yet I’ve spent my entire life doubting it. Questioning whether I can write. Really write.
The answer is no, I can’t. And yes, I can. It depends on the day. Depends on who you ask. Depends on the story or blog post. Depends on my mood.
Maybe it’s high time we stop asking ourselves if we’re good writers. And stop allowing others to tell us or question whether our writing is good, too. Because we all know that “good” is subjective. It’s subject to time, market, personality and preference, mood, need, place, circumstance; the list goes on.
Yeah, sure, we could measure our work against grammar laws and what we were taught in school but where’s the fun in that? And I find that even grammar can be flexible. Sometimes different punctuation or words can work just as well in the same sentence. It depends on the writer or desired effect.
And I love starting sentences with ‘and‘ and ‘but‘, even when we’re told not to. And ending sentences with prepositions, did you notice that?! And what fun it can be to put a question mark and an exclamation point together! Who cares?!
You didn’t ask for it, but if you want my advice, care less about being a good writer.
I want to adopt the goal of being an authentic writer. A passionate writer. A creative writer. A happy writer. A free writer. A writer who writes for herself and her beliefs.
What this does is free you up to find what feels good when writing. Instead of worrying about the grammar police and the critics (who don’t really matter, as they usually won’t be your target audience or desired fanbase), you get to enjoy the process and product. You can look back at your work and laugh or cry or be inspired because it feels like you. It feels like it’s truly yours, in all its potentially messy or imperfect glory.
I’m not saying I’m a bad writer and that you should be, too. I’m saying it doesn’t matter much either way. There are plenty of famous writers who have a large group of haters. There are plenty of writers who have adoring fans who would buy anything they publish, while others swear that their writing is trash!
So maybe there’s room out there for us. Maybe we can be successful or happy or make a living or find readers, whether we’re “good” or not.
Here are some takeaways/mantras to have a healthier writer’s mindset:
- I write for myself first
- Writing is fun for me
- I write because I have something I want to say
- Writing is my happy place
- I write to express myself and my beliefs
- Writing is pure creation and creation means bringing the impossible into reality
- I write to understand the world better, but the world is a complex and beautiful place that can never be perfectly defined by any one person
- Writing is freedom
- I write authentically because the only way my writing is unique is if I write in my own way
- Writing brings me power and purpose
My writing is successful and good when I feel good about it.