A few months ago I read a disturbing comment on a blog post by a writer saying that finally they got to hang around with real writers when they went to some prestigious event. Her words struck me right in the solar plexus, because they implied I wasn't a real writer, because I hadn't been published by a big house or hadn't won any literary awards.
I got to thinking about her words and realised they were never meant to offend anyone, but that they also came from a misconception of the idea of a true writer. A writer is not someone who has necessarily got it made in their field. Yes, the competition is fierce and the market is saturated. It's hard to stand out from the crowd. With the advent of e-books and platforms like Amazon and Smashwords, it's made it so much easier for people to publish books out in the world now from their own laptops at home. So, the emergence of writers all over the world has exponentially increased.
And yes, there are some terrible things out there. I've read books that needed to be edited by three or four editors before they saw the light of day, but weren't. I've read stories that make me want to fling the kindle up against the wall. Hence, nowadays, I have to admit, I've taken to reading books at the library. More for the reason that I find a physical book helps me to remain focused. I can feel and see how much further I have to go to finish the book. But, that's not to say I haven't read some amazing kindle books. Some of them have been the best books I've ever read. So, there's a lot out there. Could we call those very amateur people who decide they want to publish a book but never bother to get it edited, true writers?
They've completed a book. They've sat down and spent hours pouring their hearts out onto the page.
Do they need to learn a thing or two?
And don't we all?
But I refuse to take those words upon me that I'm not a true writer. Maybe I'll never get published by one of the big houses. I don't even know if I want to anymore. That's not my goal. Possibly I may never win a prestigious literary award. Now, that would be cool! But, hey, I'm a writer. I have a passion for telling stories. And I believe I can tell some really good ones sometimes. I've had a few readers and reviewers say that.
I want to urge those newbie writers who feel that they can't seem to get that contract or make any sales or obtain any reviews. Yes, you are a true writer. It's in your blood. If it consumes you and the stories keep burning inside your head, you're a true writer. Yes, you probably could learn a thing or two to improve your book. But you love the feeling of creating a story so much that you're willing to do that extra work to get there. Never break yourself down and say that you're not it. Was Van Gogh not a true artist because he didn't sell a single painting in his lifetime? Well, we all know the answer to that one.
Believe in yourself. You've been given this passion for a reason. You have a story or many stories to tell. Don't let anyone steal your voice from you. Don't ever take these lying words into your heart.
Write on, dear soul! You were made for this!