Are You Meant to be a Writer?

Should You Write Fiction?

How does this sound for a good Saturday morning?

You’re sitting at your computer, typing away. You’re working on the fourth draft of your novel. For some reason, you just can’t make the ending come out right. And now, you’re out of ideas.

Reality of Writing

That’s the reality of being a writer. It’s hard work. You may have a wonderful idea for a story–but it takes hard work to get it written out in a way readers will appreciate. It takes the effort of writing a first draft–and then the work of multiple divisions. It takes making hard decisions as to which way a story should go.

Financial Uncertainty

And then, there’s no certain promise of financial reward. While some people make good money in fiction, others struggle financially. Many writers need day jobs for a stable source of income.

Need to Write More in the Genre

Even if you do get published and your books sell, your troubles aren’t over. You have to keep marketing to keep your books selling. Once you succeed in one genre, readers may clamor for more of the same when you long to try something new.  Some people write bad reviews of your books.

With all these difficulties, one might wonder why anyone wants to be a writer? If you want money, there are more certain ways of getting earning it. If you want the prestige of being a published author, that desire alone probably won’t carry you through the grind of revision.

Why You Should Write

But there is a good reason to be a writer: you long to tell stories.

Do you have stories bouncing around your head that you just have to tell. Characters whose stories you must tell? Ideas for plots that you must flesh out.

Do you wish to provide others with some hope and inspiration mixed with good entertainment?

If so, you may be meant to be a writer.

Do You Enjoy Writing?

Here’s one way to tell if you’re meant to be a writer. Write. If you can, write for a significant period of time everyday. Write whether you feel like it or not.

It won’t always be easy. However, if you enjoy this more than not, and if you find that it releases a longing to create something, you’re likely meant to be a writer.

However, if you find it’s always a miserable slog, and that you hate writing, you might want to reconsider. There’s no reason to be a novelist if you don’t enjoy the work. There are more effective ways to make money. Perhaps there’s some other craft that you’ll like better.

Does the World Need More Books?

Sometimes, it seems as if there are already too many books. Numerous new books get published every year. And there are reports that fewer people are reading.

However, that doesn’t mean your book isn’t needed. The world doesn’t need more trashy novels, but it does need more good books. And the good books need to be marketed to more readers.

You are a Unique Writer

You are a unique person with a unique personality and a unique perspective. No one else sees the world quite like you do. No one else can come up with the same combinations of characters, plots, and themes that you can. You have the potential to write a story that Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, or Tolkien never could have written.

We Need Some New Good Books

There are many good books from the past. However, some people won’t read them. They won’t make the effort to read books written in older styles. They might think that old books are outdated and boring. But some of them might read a newer book.

Also, there’s a place for good books set in contemporary situations. And there’s a place for good books with fresh insights into contemporary issues.

A truly great story is timeless–it can appeal to readers in times very different from when it was written. Readers have enjoyed Jane Austen’s novels long after the days when women needed to marry for financial security because the estate that provided their father’s income was entailed on a distant relative. However, the world has changed drastically since the stories of the past were written. Books from the past can give us a fresh perspective on our own time.

However, we could use some books that look at contemporary situations. Some issues of our times cry out to be explored in fiction.

  • How can people be free with today’s technology for tracking and manipulating people?
  • Real relationships in a world of social media
  • Different generations growing up in different worlds.

Of course, there are many more. Contemporary fiction isn’t the only way to explore issues like this. You could explore these issues through science fiction and fantasy.

There’s also a need for good historical fiction, too. Historical fiction that is well-researched by an author who strives for accuracy can make people feel as if they’d stepped into the past, allowing them to temporarily see the world of a bygone era.

Is there a point in history when the limit to good stories is reached, and no more stories are needed? That idea might make an interesting story in itself. Perhaps the main character lives in a world where the authorities have decreed no more stories are needed, yet he feels called to write stories.

There is a legend that, in 1899, a patent clerk said that there would be be no more need for the patent office because, “everything that can be invented has been invented.”

While this story appears to be just a legend, it shows that assuming there’s no more possibility of invention is unwise.

Is saying we don’t need any new stories any more rational than that?

Are You Meant to Write Stories?

If you love writing fiction and you’re good at it, you are made to write stories. Your mind and personality are designed for writing stories. And you’ve been given these gifts for a reason.

Do not waste these gifts. Not writing stories is a waste of your gifts. So is writing stories that are not the best stories you can write at this point in your life.

It won’t be easy. Often, you’ll feel stuck or feel like giving up. Writing is a hard slog on which you may experience flashes of inspiration. It may not be as financially rewarding as you would like. But it will be worth it. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve written the best stories you could–and that these stories have touched people’s lives.

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