Are Writers Born or Made?

One of the best books I’ve read on writing is Stephen King’s book On Writing. It is one part memoir one part book on writing. He is a master story teller, obviously, but there was one thing I read that was like a punch to the gut: writers are born, not made.

When I first read it, I thought I’d read it wrong. I reread it. Nope, it was still there. Writers are born, and can be refined to be better storytellers. Some people just do not have the gift. However, if you don’t have the talent to act as a foundation, then you simply will never be a writer. It’s like being forever tone deaf to the beat and rhythm of storytelling.

I don’t believe this for one bit. But it is powerful when one of the better fiction writers of our generation tells everyone reading their book (I assume these are mostly writers) that they must be good enough first, otherwise they will never be a published author. I am thankful I was not going through a vulnerable period in my writing life where this could have derailed me. What if I was struggling with this thought and this comment was enough to push me over the edge and cause me to quit?

I am a firm believe that to be a published writer, you must work hard. You must get up at 5am at times and stay up until 3am and then get up and go to work in the morning. You must read books on writing, go to conferences, learn learn learn, and make it a part of who you are in your everyday life. 

If you find yourself on the fence about continuing your novel, consider this: Do you like the idea of being a writer, or daydream about landing that mega contract? Or is writing enough? If it’s all about the money, I suggest getting a second job. If writing is enough, I challenge you to go and get to work.

Write well, it’s a new week. Make it a good one



2 thoughts on “Are Writers Born or Made?

  1. I remember that one. I already had writing insecurities at the time of reading King’s On Writing (well, I still have) and it took a bit of wrestling to deal with it. I loved writing too much to give it up and I’ve had this dream for way too long. Nothing else really made sense to me, not even my legal career–and I enjoyed being a lawyer. Even today, as I work on the next book, I sometimes wonder whether Seals wasn’t a fluke. But it shouldn’t matter. It’s about the writing and about keeping at it. Through storm winds and torrential rains, even when your feet start to bleed and you can’t feel your fingers anymore, you keep pushing forward, to move from writing to having written. And then you start the next journey, and the cycle continues.

    And I’m soooo dramatic. Surely that must be a sign of me being a natural writer, yes?

    1. Haha! Yes I am sure the drama means we are writers! I think that advice can be awful as you could be exactly in the place of vulnerability you mentioned above. I know a ny times best selling author and ran into her at a bookstore. I asked her about he next writing project and she said she was in a bit of a lull. She’s published a ton of books, that was shocking to hear. I don’t think that doubt ever goes. We just need to keep powering through.

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