What makes a writer?
Some say, to be a good writer, it’s practice. Others, imagination. Some will swear you’re born with it. Maybe by emulating others you can get there.
I think it’s a little of all of these things. Obviously you need practice otherwise you are not going to get anywhere. Even when writer’s block hits or you lack the motivation even with a great idea—just do your job. Write. Every single time you can. But practice gets you nowhere if you have nothing to say, and that’s why imagination is key. You don’t need to have a J.K. Rowling-esque plot idea, but having something that intrigues you and makes you want to write is necessary for you to write well.
And if you lose interest in the story halfway through, it’s okay to throw it out—as a writer, one of your rights is to stop just as the reader has the right to stop reading a book that’s boring. But what should you do if your writing bores you every single time? Maybe the time for emulation is at hand!
What’s my story?
I’ve been surrounded by stories my whole life, whether they’re the children’s books that my mom read to me or the bedtime stories my dad told me. I spent four years in Waldorf education where stories were the basis of learning. A lot of my classmates have gone on to have creative ventures, from playing local coffee shops and music festivals to drumming for bands playing sold-out rock clubs.
And while I left the Waldorf system in fifth grade, I continued my love affair with stories by writing some of my own. These were “novels” that were probably 50 pages total—largely devoid of characterization and major plots but a rigorous undertaking for a pre-teen. They still sit on my shelf and perhaps one day I’ll revisit them and craft them into a short story.
From there, I wrote for classes because I had to, but only when my tenth grade English teacher Dr. Seney and my eleventh grade English teacher Miss Hicks chose to make writing a short story part of the curriculum did I start to really flex my creative juices again. My story for Seney was short, sweet, and a little sappy—about a guy who took a bullet for the girl he loved. For Hicks, I went all in for the student version of NaNoWriMo and pumped out 30,000 words in a month. That formed the basis for the upcoming novel I’m releasing; I’ve expanded upon it a lot since that November over half a decade ago.
And the past few years I’ve made an effort to write more and more—short stories, flash fiction, nonfiction, spoken word pieces, screenplays. There are so many pieces of partially-completed content sitting on my hard drive, and I need to go through them all to determine which should get my attention later this year. I’m looking forward to it.
But that’s not all; I write for fun, but I also write for a living. I do commentary on NASCAR for two websites and work full time in marketing at a publishing company, writing social media posts, email newsletters and email blasts, and press releases. And I absolutely love it!
So that’s why I say being a writer is having a little of all the ingredients I listed at the beginning, because I have some of all of them. How about you?