Popstar Shakira was once told that she sounded like a goat when she sang….a zillion records later world-wide and I’d say that choir director was wrong. I was told in the 9th grade by an English teacher that I couldn’t write and then, in college, a creative writing teacher told me that I should choose another career path because I wasn’t a writer…many books later and thousands of published articles…I’d fathom to say they were wrong too. My point? Just because someone is a position of implied authority doesn’t mean that they necessarily know what the crap they are talking about.
I hear from other fledgling writers every day about how some well-intentioned, and sometimes not well-intentioned, person has told them they aren’t a writer. Usually these stories involve teachers and sometimes they involve “seasoned writers” but the stories are all the same…someone somewhere felt it was their duty to squash someone else’s dream of becoming a writer. It’s wrong.
The thing about writing, as with all art, is that it is subject to the reader. In my opinion there are some folks out there who are selling millions of books that really suck. I don’t like their work and I don’t understand why they are best sellers BUT…that’s my opinion and you know what they say about those…they are like ass*, everybody has one. As a writer you can work on the basics…grammar, tense, the bare bones and you can become a better writer based on these. Does that mean that your stories have what it takes to reach literary stardom? Maybe not but you can still write and these days you can even publish yourself making you “a writer”. These days no one can really stop you.
Maybe there are some folks out there that should look for another line of work but the best way to determine that is to give it a try and then, if it goes nowhere, change careers…don’t do it on the word of somebody else. In my experience those who would discourage others are often irritated or jealous that they are having no success or that they can’t do it. Humans, for some reason, like to destroy things they themselves can’t have; writing is no different. That English teacher from the 9th grade was a frustrated writer who couldn’t get a book published. That creative writing teacher in college? She finally changed into nursing because she wasn’t even cut out to be a teacher of writing. (I did send her a copy of my first published book with a thank you letter years later…catty I know but I couldn’t help it)
My point is, nobody should tell you not to try. The only person who should determine that you shouldn’t be a writer is you. Remember that people do things for a lot of crazy reasons and someone telling you that you can’t be a writer may be doing so because they burned their toast that particular morning….write…if it works, yeah…if it doesn’t, well, at least you know for yourself.
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