Being a Writer Doesn’t Have a Start Date

The Myth of the Born Writer

The myth is that to be successful and have earned the right to call yourself a writer, you must have been writing all your life.

I read many writers’ stories; they seem to have almost always written, from childhood until adulthood, from terrible short stories to awful novels.

I have not; this is not and has never been me. But does this mean that I don’t have the right to call myself a writer? Looking at the facts, I write now; I’m developing a writer’s voice, love writing, and have writing ambitions.

In my mind, I am creative, and I am a writer.

My AI assistant suggests outlines, topics, or subtleties I hadn’t considered. The actual writing is all human me. The assistant also advises me when I’m being boring if I choose to listen.

The image captures the essence of a writer's journey through a serene landscape with various paths. Each path, adorned with symbols of creativity, represents the diverse routes one can take to becoming a writer, highlighting the message that there is no single start date to this journey.
A writers journey Source DALL E 3

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What is a Writer?

Being a writer is about embracing writing, regardless of when one starts, and committing to continuous improvement and expression through words.

A writer is defined not by the length of their writing journey but by their passion for the craft, commitment to refining their skills, and courage to share their work.

This last part has always been the most difficult for me. I suspect it’s the main reason I procrastinated for so long. Like introverts the world over, I’d have rather stayed quiet and unnoticed than risk opening myself to criticism.

Advancing years are a great healer for this, fortunately. No matter how severely introverted, after a certain age, we stop giving a shit what people think.

The Myth

Writing is not an exclusive club; it’s open to anyone who wants to tell a story, share insight, or explore worlds through words at any stage of their life.

The essence of writing lies in the act, the commitment to craft, the courage to share one’s thoughts with the world, and the constant pursuit of growth and understanding.

Many of today’s celebrated writers have been writing since they were young.

Consider Stephen King, who was supposed to have started writing at age six or seven. His first published story, ‘I Was a Teenage Grave Robber’, was written when he was eighteen.

On the other side of the coin, Raymond Chandler began writing professionally in his mid-forties. Frank McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for his memoir “Angela’s Ashes,” published when he was sixtysix.

What is a truism is that experience does count; it just means that late bloomers have to run hard to try and catch up.

Why We Write

I read an article on Medium this morning; the writer thought that (reading between the lines) writing regularly and consistently was pointless until you’ve found a formula that works. Although it is written with a humorous slant, the article misses the point that most writers are motivated by the love of writing.

Dear Newbie Writer — Stop Publishing Consistently

Here is a summary of the article generated by ChatGPT:

Ultimately, the article advocates for a strategic and patient approach to writing for the web, emphasising quality, reader engagement, and genuine appeal over mere consistency and volume.

Yes, of course, we want to share our thoughts with the world, and indeed, it can be frustrating to pour your heart into your writing only to feel ignored. Also, it would be nice to earn some cash from the writing.

But I write because I like to write. This is a weekly newsletter; therefore, consistency is built in, obviously. Depending on the motivating principles behind your writing, this post, while well-written and to the point, only presents a single point of view.

It’s essential not to take this or anything written by myself or others as gospel truth. Follow your own path; you’ll be happier for it.

Last week’s post lamented the flat and voiceless tone of a recent piece I wrote about Apple Vision Pro. Here’s a funny fact: Recently, the Vision Pro article has been among the most popular posts. The problem is, though, I wouldn’t say I like it.

Creativity Flat-lined: Content Without Personality

Here is the first paragraph:

My last article was a dull and flat post; I’ve just reread the first few paragraphs and now understand why. There was almost no personality there; my ‘voice’ was missing in action, in my opinion, at least.

I would rather encourage readers to embrace their unique paths to writing. Write what you feel happy with, not searching for clickbait subject matter.

Unless you only write for money, go ahead and write the most clickbaity posts you can.

The Process

Each writer has developed or is developing their particular creative process. Not only that, but the process varies enormously, depending on the type of writing.

For example, the creation of this newsletter follows a process that I’ve been developing over the last year. The process is far from being written in stone; it evolves as I learn more and depends on other external factors such as day job commitments and family time.

My long-form writing is an entirely different process altogether. It’s early days for this process, so early that I wouldn’t even have the audacity to call it a process yet. I know I’ll get there, but it will take a while.

I’ve consumed or skimmed through various posts, books, podcasts, and other content on the creative process. The valuable items all have one thing in common. A writer’s process or processes are unique to the writer. We all have to figure things out from scratch.

When developing a creative writing process, it’s important to recognise that there’s no one-size-fits-all method. Every writer has a unique path to producing their best work, influenced by personal preferences, experiences, and the nature of their projects.

There are no shortcuts, unfortunately; we need to write consistently, and then, maybe we’ll get close to a productive process.

Setting Goals

Setting writing goals can be a thorny subject, depending on who you listen to. Some purists feel that setting an artificial goal or target cheapens the creative process and the finished work. I can see their point, though, in my opinion, it’s an individual choice.

Perhaps my thoughts on goal setting would be different were I a full-time writer. The financial reality suggests that only a small percentage of writers can sustain themselves solely on income derived from their writing.

Most of us, therefore, have at least one day job. That, together with family time, means we must schedule and plan our writing time. If we didn’t, this **weekly** newsletter would be instead an _occasional_ newsletter. Doesn’t quite have the same ring about it.

Charting the Course: A Solopreneur Strategy for Life’s Many Hats

Setting realistic writing goals is important to measure progress if, like myself and most of us, we have other lifestreams to support. Our writing ambitions also play a pivotal role in the need to set goals.

I not only want to continue writing for The Everyday Solopreneur, but I also have other outlets that I wish to develop. Other newsletters and other publications unrelated to this one.

Put together with the long-form ambitions, we can see that for any of this to be achievable, planning and the setting of goals will be necessary,

I tend to look at it positively; these goals motivate and define my identity as a writer. But it doesn’t have to be like this for everyone if you write purely for the joy of writing, with no monetary or other ambitions in mind. Then, setting goals may not be needed at all.

It is always an individual’s choice.

The Craft

The quality of our writing craft can, perhaps, be learned and improved over time. No writer can truthfully say that their craft is perfect. Even the most celebrated and accomplished writers of our and previous generations are continuously plagued by self-doubt.

A writer who says they are a good writer and have nothing more to learn about the craft is very likely a terrible writer. The only true judge of the quality of our writing is the audience we build over time.

Perhaps my scribblings are crap, maybe they will always be crap, but I can’t judge the quality myself. Only others can do that. But I persevere, study, and practice to master the craft. If I am successful, then great; if I’m not, it’s not the end of the world.

I’ll be dead, gone, and forgotten in twenty or thirty years (if I’m lucky). In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

It would be nice to be remembered a little bit, though.

Final Thoughts

I refuse to let literary snobs discourage me. Everything from the purists to arrogant professionals to those who take pleasure in forcing their negativity down the throats of anyone who dares to throw their thoughts into the public ring.

I do what I do because for no other reason than it makes me happy. Possibly, it is another form of escapism, like reading a book or being immersed in the latest streaming series.

We must all ask ourselves why we do this and be confident in ourselves, even if nobody else is.

My mantra: I am creative; I am a writer.

I’d love to know what your thoughts are. Why not share your writing journey or what motivates you to write?

Hopefully, you enjoyed this post. If you want to say ‘thank you, ‘ the best way is to get involved in the comments. And my promise to you…If you get in touch, I will answer! So comment away… (joining the email list is also nice)

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I apologise to my readers for some of the spellings you may feel are incorrect. I was born and brought up in the United Kingdom, and this is the spelling I am comfortable with (Grammarly is happy with it anyway).