In which I give my two cents on what makes a real writer.

I know I said I’d open up nominations today, but I decided this is a bit more important.

See there’s this little discussion going around on google plus about what makes someone a real writer.

Here’s the highlights of what people said that I’ve read before I decided to write this. And hey, maybe it’s completely unnecessary. I have no idea how many new writers come to my blog.

But I guess you all figured out that I have a heart for helping them. I love encouraging people to write. I love giving advice on stuff I’ve learnt that helps them to crack stuff that took me years. Because honestly, I know that the stuff I write on plot, structure, characterization etc. doesn’t really interest the veteran writers. They know all this already.

The thing is, being a writer, in its purest form, is dedication to writing.

It’s not about you writing like me. Or me writing like you.

It’s not about writing the perfect first draft.

It’s not about a deep knowledge of grammar. It’s not about having a huge and obscure vocabulary.

It’s about dedication to the craft. It’s about writing until you want to cry because you don’t think the story will end. And then, it’s about writing some more until you do get there. All that stuff about having a good manuscript, and fixing grammar, and picking the better word to say exactly what you mean, the way you mean it, come later.

All that stuff, even if you can write like Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway or whoever, doesn’t make you a writer any more than putting icing over a brick turns it into a cake.

What makes you a writer, is wanting to write when you can’t. And writing whenever you can. Even if it means giving up t.v. time or sleeping an hour later.

Yes, there are some writers who are better than others. That is determined by the icing I mentioned. So I’m not saying that it’s wise to publish without editing. I am saying that you should learn how to build a story around a structure.

But don’t put off writing until after you’ve learnt. You’ll never learn the perfect amount of writing knowledge. There’s nothing that will qualify you as a writer.

Except. For. Writing.

Thanks for reading.

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47 thoughts on “In which I give my two cents on what makes a real writer.

  1. I totally agree, you need to have a perspective for expression and a willingness to torture yourself with the thoughts buried inside and also a disciplined addiction to write.

  2. I see you changed your blog name!

    I'm glad that being a writer isn't about having a perfect first draft. I'd like to add it's not about having a perfect sixth or seventh draft either! =)

  3. That's such an interesting opinion. I must say I do agree. A writer should be the one who does everything in his power to write. You just gave me something to ponder on today. Thank you! Dragon hugs.

  4. If writing preoccupies a large percentage of your time or thoughts, whether you're pub'd or not pub'd, than you're a writers. I have friends who've written maybe one or two short stories and call themselves writers, but I always ask: “Did you write today? Yesterday? How about your next story? Hmm?”

  5. So true, Misha. It really is about dedication. I read self-pubbed stories sometimes and think,”wow this author isn't dedicated.” Maybe they have a good story to tell, but they didnt do the time. Nothing against self-pubbing at all, btw.
    But those writers will learn more as they continue to write. It's the only way. And I find errors even in bestsellers, which proves no writer has it all.

  6. “Writers write” became my motto for quite a while. I didn't want to become one of those people who always wanted to write a book but just never got around to it. You're right. The best thing to do, is just do it. 🙂

  7. “I'm a writer”
    “I'm a published writer”
    “I'm a self-published writer”
    “I'm a traditionally published writer”

    Subsitute 'writer' with 'author' and it makes little difference. Substitute 'I'm' with 'you're' as instead of labeling oneself, labeling someone else.

    Do you write for yourself, for a few, for anyone who'll look at it? Do only a few or even anyone read what you write? Do you strive to improve? Hone those skills, know you're grammar? Do you write regularly, on a schedule? Do you only do it as a hobby?

    Yes, I could go on. In the end, it's what you think and what you do that makes the ultimate difference, whatever the labels others might plaster on your back when you're not looking.

  8. Hi Misha,
    Well said, yes, a writer writes, writes, and writes
    there is no end to it, it continues and continues then only a perfect thing comes out LOL
    So writers, Pl don't put a full stop to your writings, instead go on and on and on LOL
    Hey, Misha to tell you the truth “This made our DAY” 🙂
    Phil

  9. A writer writes, it's as simple as that. I'm certain there are many potentially brilliant artists who have thought about painting, maybe even took classes, and studied form and color. But until they put brush to canvas and expressed what's inside them, they aren't artists. Same is true of writers. Heart, mind, and soul to pen, pen to paper.

    ~VR Barkowski

  10. I completely agree! The very act of writing *makes* one a writer, published or not. I totally don't get why so many unpublished writers these days downgrade themselves by calling themselves mere “aspiring writers.” If you actively write, there's nothing “aspiring” about that. Maybe aspiring to be published, but not to write.

  11. I truly believe a lot of people fail to write because they're waiting until they can write the perfect book. I completed two books in High School, neither were perfect but both had at least one fan who read it right to the end. And they loved it so I did something right them and as a better writer now I don't plan on giving up. Thanks for sharing and for your kind comment on my The Next Big Thing post on Monster City.

  12. You did a great job offering reasons to keep writing and how to define ourselves as writers. I think, what's important, is that if you want to write, as you said, you do it and don't worry too much about all the other “noise” out there telling you how you should write or even if you should get published or write fiction or nonfiction. Good for you for cheering us all on!

  13. Hi human Misha,

    Some notable points that I heartily agree with. My human and ourself don't like the use of the term “real” writer. What we do believe, however, that writing is a passion and when either my human or I write, we become the characters we write about. If you write, no matter what it is, you are a writer. Simple as.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! 🙂

  14. Perfectly put! Being a writer in its simplest form is doing just that; writing! It's nice to recognize that and know that all of us, from those just beginning to published authors, are together on this crazy writing journey.

  15. I definitely agree. Writing has been the one thing I've never been able to give upon; I don't even want to give it up because the way I feel when I write is different and better than anything else I've experienced.

  16. I totally agree. Before I wrote my first MS, I read a few books about writing but truth be said, it wasn't until I started writing that I was able to identify with those problems… and solve them, hopefully.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  17. Hi Misha,

    Wise words!

    Love the new blog title and will be keen to see how you go with your impressive royalties goal!

    Yep – I'm still out here, but a very intermittent blogger as always. It probably is time for a new post though. Sometime soonish. 😉

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