Do you dream of becoming a bestselling writer? Have you said to yourself something along the lines of, if only I was a born writer? You want and hope you can become a writer, but the words are not flowing and just say, if only I had born talent?
Writers are made. Discussions about are writers born or made come down firmly on the side that writers are made, not born. Writing is a skill that you can develop like any other. You can start with little knowledge of a subject and work at it until you become highly skilled.
Nothing is stopping you from becoming a skillful writer except effort. I believe there is no born skill required or blocking you from becoming a writer but let’s discuss this a little deeper.
Writers are Made
Are writers born or made? has been asked time and again for many years. There are numerous essays and discussions going back decades that try to definitively answer this question. It is one of those fascinating endless discussions that can almost be guaranteed to provide passionate and convincing arguments presented for both sides.
There are arguments for born being a real thing. Typical examples use some of the greatest writers in history to say that undoubtedly, some of the people who have created the most celebrated novels cannot possibly have been able to create them just because they were taught how? They must have some kind of a natural gift or talent that we cannot teach or pass on?
The general consensus is that writers are made and that anyone can become a successful writer if they want to. Nobody is really born with the ability to write a great novel with little effort. It is achieved through many years of effort, education and practice.
This question seems to come from those who dream of being a writer or are already struggling with the process. You have doubts and ask yourself this question when you are struggling. If they are born, then are you wasting your time is what you want to know.
So, I believe that writers are made, not exclusively born, and in the rest of this article, I will discuss some reasons I think they are made and help you understand that no matter how hard it is right now, you can become a writer.
What are “Born” Writers?
Let’s begin by briefly discussing what a so-called “born” writer is. We assign this label to the most significant writers that we have ever known as a sign that only someone given a gift at birth could be capable of great writing.
We picture them sitting to write and just having their latest novel or screenplay or creation appear almost fully formed and done first try.
Think about this label for a moment and apply it to other creative endeavors. Would we really think people are born model makers? How about a born woodworker? You can apply this to many creative jobs and hobbies, and saying someone is born for it does not sound right.
In our first example, I doubt many people would think that someone making the most spectacular and real-looking models was a born model maker, no matter how good they are. The same goes for woodworking. We would just say that they are incredibly talented.
There may be a few exceptions that defy explanation, but how the so-called gift came about can usually be explained when you investigate the background and upbringing of most writers. This spark that becomes a successful career can result from something as simple as a teacher showing great interest in a simple writing assignment completed in class or a parent who regularly reads books at bedtime.
There is typically a passion for books from childhood that was kicked of by some simple act that developed into an interest in writing.
If you think about it for a minute, you can likely come up with a similar point in time that kicked off your passion?
But how does your interest become an actual career? For that, we need to look at talent and what is it exactly?
The Talent of Writing
In the strict definition, talent is a natural aptitude that we are born with, but we tend to use that word much more loosely than that.
We call someone talented if they are very good at something; a talented singer, a talented violin player, tennis player, etc. This of course, includes writing. We read a well-written book that profoundly engages our interest and think the writer is talented. Again, per definition, this is more of a skill, but we prefer to use talent in a more all-encompassing use.
However, when we apply it to ourselves more closely with the dictionary definition, we think of talent as something we need to be born with. We either have it, or we do not.
But that is far from the truth. We can develop what we call talent as it is a learned skill that, through time, patience and effort, we can take from a rough beginning to what others see as a talent to be admired.
As a want to be writer, it is easy to become discouraged after you sit trying to write and cannot get the story written down and sounding like it does in your mind. Somehow the wording just does not come out right. It sounds clunky and amateur.
It is very easy to give up at this point, and many will.
But this is exactly what will separate the dreamers from the talented and successful writers. Many will give up far too soon by thinking that if I can’t write something good reasonably quickly, I must not have talent.
But in the same way we can only play a guitar by practicing, the same applies to writing. We don’t see the years of guitar practice at home; parents saying enough already, play a new tune at least! We miss the endless hours of frustration trying to get just some part of a song just right.
We just see the ”Talent” on stage at a live concert. We see the end result and none of the hard work that created it.
The same applies to writing. It is a skill that we can learn and develop so that others will see your work and say that you are talented.
Good Writing Takes Practice
Time creates talent. Yes, some of us get better at a skill faster than others. Investing time in any new skill requires developing it and mature into something other consider a talent.
There are very few shortcuts to developing your new skill. You can look up how-to information and tips from successful writers, but you will have to put in the time and effort at the end of the day.
An excellent place to start is small. It seems obvious, but we commonly look far ahead and push ourselves to our goal too quickly. This will just create frustration and put you off ever completing.
Start by setting reasonable goals. Don’t try to write a whole novel on day one. Start with a single character and describe them in a couple of paragraphs. Put your character in a situation and write about how they handle it. Do it again in several others, just trying to write a few hundred words well.
Putting in the effort on smaller tasks each time will be much more rewarding and help keep you going as you learn and develop. Success getting a few hundred words sounding just right will spur you on, and very soon, you will be doing thousands without much thought about it.
Start with small targets, finish each one the best you can, repeat and write regularly and then build on each step to hone your talent.
How Do I Know if I am Talented Enough to be a Writer?
First, just do it…A lot.
Most importantly, do it regularly.
Once you get to the point you think you have made reasonable progress, do not be afraid to share it. It is tempting to wait until you feel we have perfected a skill, but that day may never come.
Many writers have said that they stopped and submitted a new novel because they had hit a deadline rather than thought they had done the absolute best they could and were indeed done with it. They knew at some point they need to stop trying to improve it and move on to the next novel.
You can do the same on a smaller scale. Don’t wait for perfect to start sharing.