When Do You Become a Writer?

We’ve all done it.  You’re scrolling through Facebook and you come across a “quiz” that tells you who you are (because algorithms know everything), and you click on it only to find you have apparently been living your life all wrong!

Sigh…I did just that today, and now I’m downright irate.  I should have known better, but I couldn’t stop myself from clicking on that “Should You be a Writer?” quiz that kept popping up in my feed.  I took the quiz.  Guess what?  I shouldn’t be a writer.

Why?  Evidently it’s a lot of work.  Evidently you need 427 years of schooling to put words on paper that inspire others.  Evidently I am not creative enough, because I also happen to like watching more than one television show.

It was discouraging for about thirteen seconds.  Then I remembered that silly quiz didn’t know me.  It didn’t know that I thrive from writing, or that I would do just about anything to put my thoughts on paper.  Of course, those 427 years of schooling may have helped me get started, at the very least it may have helped me remember where the commas are supposed to go, but not having it certainly won’t STOP me from doing what I love.

Folks, I have an MBA that I paid good money for – really good money, and I haven’t used that sucker once since I graduated.  Quite frankly, if I entered the business world right now, that $90K degree would probably be worthless.  The truth is, education is important, but it isn’t everything.

Experience, now THAT you cannot put a price tag on.  Empathy, sympathy, love, hope, generosity, sadness, anger – the entire human spectrum of emotion – and the things you do and see and say in your life – THAT is what makes you a writer.  Anyone can make a sentence and write it on paper, but it’s those of us who put our soul on paper that inspire others and create masterpieces.

Some may say the true gauge of success as a writer is publication, some say making the NYT Bestseller list, some say fame and fortune (sorry, not many people become JK Rowling), but I say the second you leave a little piece of yourself on the page you have become a writer.

Writing is an art form, and like any other form of art it takes practice and perseverance.  Mozart worked for ten years before he produced his first popular work.  Kobe Bryant put in thousands of hours of training before he became a star, arguably one of the best basketball players in the world.  Picasso painted a bunch of crap before he sold is first painting.  Einstein thought most of his work was junk, then he completed his Theory of Relativity – dude, he figured out gravity!  But, he didn’t do it overnight.

My point?  If you want to be a writer, then be a writer.  Put in the work and never let anyone, not even the all-powerful Facebook quiz, tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.  That said, if you will excuse me I have some writing to do.

All the love!  MJ