Do you need talent to be a writer?
I get emails all the time from blog readers who just don't think they're good enough to be writers.
They love stories, and they have an interest in writing them, but nothing they ever write turns out to be something they feel proud of. Does that mean they aren't good enough to be writers? Well, I have a few thoughts on that.
In today's video, we'll discuss whether or not you need talent to be a writer. Make sure to check it out below (or click through to watch on Youtube). You can also scroll to check out the video transcript if you'd prefer to read through today's discussion!
"'I don’t think I’m good enough to be a writer.'
As both a writer and a writing mentor, this is a phrase that I hear ALL the time. In emails. In blog post and the comments below videos. On social media.
Across the board, writers fear that they don’t have the skills, the imagination, the creativity, or the drive that they need in order to be a successful writer, which begs the question, “Do you actually need talent to be a writer?”
Alright, so you’ve heard the phrase “arts & crafts” right? Maybe you had an art & crafts class in elementary school like I did or perhaps there’s a store nearby that markets itself as an arts & crafts store.
Oftentimes, those two words are used interchangeably---arts and crafts. But in my opinion, there is a difference between the two.
Art can be defined as visual or auditory creations intended to be enjoyed or to make a profound emotional impact. An artist is, at heart, a creator. And in my opinion, to be an artist is something that someone is born with. It's inherent. Artistry is something that you are born having and then you go on to cultivate throughout your life.
Crafts, on the other hand, are activities that are most often done by hand and that involve some sort of skill level that must first be learned. Generally speaking, anyone can learn a craft with a little time, patience, and lot of hard work.
When you hear people say that it takes 10,000 hours to master a new skill, that skill is usually a craft that can be learned. So which is writing? And art or a craft?
I say both.
To be a writer is to create written work, which is both a craft that you do by hand and a creation that you make with artistic vision. But to be a writer is also more complicated than that.
There are all types of writers in the world: storyists, essayists, poets, journalists, the list goes on and on. On this channel in particular, we talk about writing fiction, specifically novels because that's what I, in particular, have a strong suit for.
For novelists like myself, what we do can really be broken down into two aspects: storytelling and prose. And in my opinion, both the stories that we tell and the way in which we tell them both require artistic vision and skills learned over time.
Which makes the act of writing a novel both an art form and a craft.
There are mechanics behind the act of writing stories. Just think of character creation and world-building and line editing and sentence structure, diction, and so on. I give advice on all of these topics on my blog because, on a certain level, they can be taught.
There are tips & tricks that I can give you that will make you a better writer. BUT, there is one thing that I cannot teach you, and that is artistic vision.
Artistic vision drives every part of your work as a writer, from which stories you choose to tell, the themes in those stories that you write, which writing rules you choose to break, the way in which you style your prose, and so much more.
If you’re watching this now and thinking, “Oh, great. Artistic vision? I definitely don’t have that. I have, like, zero talent for anything in life.”
Don’t despair. I have good news for you: Every human is a natural-born artist.
Remember, to be an artist is to create, and what do humans love to do more than create? We create buildings and other languages and visions for our futures and other humans and art. We create art!
I truly do believe that: that every human is born an artist. Why? Because every single child plays make believe. Because every child dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. They create visions for their futures.
And what is art, if not taking a look at life through a certain perspective and envisioning it and then bringing that to life? Even if it's just on the page, or in a painting, or through a piece of music.
But as children grow up, one of either two things happen: they either begin to create, or they let the daily hardships of being human begin to convince them that creating anything purely for themselves is selfish and that it's a waste of time.
I know it seems like I've been philosophizing for a while now, but just let me put this another way: if you desperately want to be a writer, but you don’t think you’re good enough....your inherent love for storytelling is there. All you need to do is slowly coax it out of you.
We are all talented in different ways, and it can be tough to ignore the stigmas that tell us things like: "Your work needs to be literary in order for it to matter." "Um, you're not a valid writer until you publish and people like it." "Your prose better be pretty darn wispy and captivating if you really wanna call yourself a writer."
All that happens when we buy into stigmas is that we place undo pressure on ourselves, and that’s when doubts begin to take root. Now, it may take time to ditch these stigmas. In fact, it WILL take time.
But you have to begin fighting for what you want. Only then will you begin to banish stigmas’ effect on your life once and for all. So do you want to be a writer? Then stop worrying about whether or not you're good enough, and just go write.
You've got it in you. So what are you waiting for?
Guys, thank you so much for watching today's video. I really hope you enjoyed this discussion. I'm finding so far with this channel that I really like using this as a space to talk about more personal things that have to do with the writing world, you know?
So if you did enjoy this video, it would mean the world to me if you gave it a thumbs up. Don't forget to subscribe to my channel for more, and if you would like to know the moment that new videos go live, don't forget to click that little bell icon to sign up for new video notifications. Sound good? I'll see you guys later. Bye!
Did you enjoy today's video? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, whether in the discussion below or over on Youtube.
I believe that anyone with a love for stories and the passion to learn how to tell them well is indeed a writer. Does it take a long time to master the craft of writing? Sure. But is that really different from any other craft? Not at all.
So get out there, and write. The storyteller you'd like to be is just over the horizon.