Lots of people who love reading, dream of becoming a writer. Thousands of people actually take the first step, sit down at their desk, and actually make the effort to start writing, but will they make it?
Writing is a skill that anybody can learn with the proper determination, passion, and effort. The question is writing a talent has been discussed for decades as if this seemingly simple yes\no question is the only determination of if you can become a successful writer or not. It is not.
This article will discuss writing and how you can become a talented writer.
The Real Question to Ask Yourself
As a new writer, it can be very intimidating when you are sat looking at a blank page trying to figure out how you’re going to write 50,000 words or more for your first novel. The difficulty getting started often leads new writers to do searches on the Internet, trying to find helpful tips that will get them started.
They very quickly come across the question, is writing a talent? This immediately adds to doubts that you already have due to the difficulty already at the front of your mind.
We believe that this is the wrong question to ask yourself. What you should be saying to yourself is I will be a writer, and the question to ask is:
Do I have the determination and perseverance to become a writer?
As you read the many articles covering writing as a talent, you will come across many examples of some of the most famous and successful writers in history. These award-winning writers will be used as examples of why talent is required to hit the big time.
This is wrong.
What most of these articles seem to miss is that those examples cover just the top few percent of all writers. There are thousands of writers who successfully publish novels every week. Many of them get their books published through sheer hard work and not just innate talent.
Talent is not the one thing that either makes you a writer or not.
Determination and perseverance are by far the most critical factors in who becomes a successful published writer.
What Makes a Good Writer?
Although there are quite likely a few naturally gifted people, writing is a skill, and a skill is something that can be learned. If they really want to, anyone can learn it. Having a bit of natural talent may make learning to be a good writer a little easier, but the process still needs to be learned by everyone.
A few key things must be learned to become a good writer. Some of the main ones are simple technical abilities such as sentence structure, grammar and flow. Having good written language skills is very important to create interesting well-crafted stories.
It can be difficult for people to read stories and stay engaged if the text is too repetitive and simplistic. The good news is that this is a skill that can be improved with education and effort.
How Do You know if You Have Writing “Talent”?
Many people would like to be writers but have doubts could they have the ability to create an exciting story and turn it into a book. So how do you know if you are a so-called talented writer?
This is very subjective. Some people think if you’ve published a book, you must be talented, but there are plenty of bad books. Equally, just because you haven’t published a book doesn’t mean you don’t have the talent.
A little self-analysis can help you answer this. Be careful of listening to others too much; even the most famous authors get negative comments.
1: Do you see yourself improving?
If you compare your current writing with what you have written earlier, can you see progress and improvement?
2: Do you still want to write?
Despite having doubting comments from other people, do you still really want to write and actually make an effort to do it regularly?
3: Do you finish what you start?
While you may not always complete every last story or idea that you create, do you generally follow through and finish most writing ideas?
These are obviously only a few questions to ask yourself, but the best way to determine if you have a writing talent is to keep writing every day and keep working towards being published.
How to Become a “Talented” Writer
So, at this point, hopefully, you are convinced that even if you don’t think you are naturally talented, you can still become a writer. Let’s cover a few skills to become a writer?
The first skill and maybe the most important one to develop is your imagination. Many people believe they don’t have much of an imagination, but when you ask a few questions about when they were children, they agree then they were constantly making up interesting games and stories.
We don’t think we have an imagination anymore because we just don’t use it very often. We can improve our imagination quite simply by using it. The same as we exercise to strengthen our muscles and fitness, we can do mental exercises to enhance our imagination.
How to Improve Your Imagination
The steps to improve imagination can cover a whole article, but try a few simple things to get started.
1: Start small.
Try writing a 2-sentence introduction to a story. When someone starts reading a story, you need to grab their attention from the first line. As an exercise, try writing lots of different combinations of opening lines designed to capture the reader.
2: Use writing prompts
You can go online to many websites and get writing prompts. Collect some prompts and use these to write one or two paragraphs about each. Just do a few of these each day.
The nice thing about these is that somebody else gives you all sorts of random subjects and situations you would not think of and pushes you to write a large variety of ideas.
3: Try simply creating a character.
Don’t try to go too far ahead and invent a whole story to go with the character at this point. Just create a few paragraphs describing and facts about your character to make them exciting and unique. Repeat this and try to do one or two a day.
Make sure to try non-human characters like aliens, animals and mythical beasts. No limits apply to this exercise.
This is a great way to create a whole library of different ideas and stretch yourself. Make sure to keep them because they can be helpful to refer to when you are building an actual story outline.
Write, Write and Write Some More
Sometimes there is simply no replacement for practice. One of the best ways to improve your writing skills is quite simply to write. Make sure you write regularly and as much as possible. There will be many occasions when you really cannot think of much to write about.
If you are stuck, a few ideas are:
- Try the imagination exercises we covered above
- Try rewriting one of your own previous efforts to improve it or
- Pick a favorite story or book you’ve read and try rewriting an interesting part in your own words. Obviously, you can’t publish this, but it is a great way to get you writing again if you feel stuck and can’t think of any good ideas.
Get Constructive Feedback
We cannot emphasize enough just how important it is to get regular constructive feedback. You can ask friends and family to read and give you feedback, but they can sometimes be hesitant to tell you the truth.
It’s far better to find something like a writers group either online or locally, as you will find like-minded individuals who will give you honest and constructive feedback. You can also help your own writing skills by reading their material and providing feedback in return.
Education is Your Friend
Ongoing education is essential in almost any job, and that is just as true for being a writer. This education could be more formal for example by taking a writing course, it could be self-paced by taking online tutorials or reading how-to books on writing.
Don’t forget to improve your other skills that may not be so obvious, such as editing skills, computer and software skills, and technical skills such as sentence structure, language, and grammar.
Failure obviously can be challenging to accept, but it can be very constructive in writing. If you reach a point where the story simply is not working, it can be valuable to analyze its problems. Think of failure as learning one way how not to do something.
Failure is not really a problem; not learning from failure is the problem. So always make sure you embrace failure, learn from failure and but don’t let it stop you from continuing to write.
Having Purpose Can Get You Past the Hard Times
It’s a simple truth that being a writer can be a very long lonely process. To help keep you on track and motivated, having a specific purpose in mind is very important. For those times when you’re having a difficult day, you can remind yourself what your goal is.
Your purpose may be to quit your day job and become a writer. Maybe it’s to make a few extra dollars on the side. Becoming a writer is difficult but staying a writer is by far the most challenging part. So having a specific reason you want to write and perseverance can help you overcome those hard times and ultimately reach success.
Do you still think being a writer is reserver just for the naturally talented? Hopefully, I have convinced you that this is not the be-all and end-all.
Ignore those internal doubts, use some of the tips we have covered here and keep pushing forward to practice and improve your writing skills. Good luck!