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Do I Really Have What it Takes to Be a Writer?

I often doubt whether I will ever be a “real writer.” I am much in need of practice, and I feel guilty about all of the basic writing skills I “should” know but never applied myself to learn.  Why did I even start blogging if I feel my writing is so inadequate? My primary reason is that I believe God wants me to blog, and I know I will never grow my skills unless I practice.  The internet can be a pretty intimidating place to practice, but it takes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to get an outsider’s perspective on my work.

What does it really take to be a writer?

Lately I have been reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, and while I can’t condone everything in the book, or any human-made book for that matter, I am learning many valuable lessons. Throughout the book, the author contrasts a growth mindset with a fixed mindset using various anecdotes and examples. I have been so guilty of having a fixed mindset about many things in my life, especially areas I felt accomplished in as a child. My writing was one of those areas.

My Writing Background

I have always loved reading and writing stories. As young as 3 or 4 years old I remember imagining that someone somewhere was reading the story of my life to other children. I even had a narrator in my head giving a play by play of all of my childish adventures, both real and imagined. My love of stories continued throughout my childhood. Throughout my teen years, for fun, I wrote a series of short stories detailing the adventures of fictitious twin sisters for my twin cousins.

The problem came when I was required to write in more realistic applications. I didn’t like the way struggling felt and did anything I could to get out of it. (My senior “term paper” was a well-researched historical fiction journal of a girl traveling on a ship to settle in Pennsylvania.)

When I entered college I was in for a huge shock. I was placed in the grammar and composition course–the lowest level English course offered. As the class progressed, I became convinced that I could never be a writer in the real world and immediately gave up on ever taking any non-required writing classes. Was the content really that difficult? No, I just thought I should know all these things naturally if I was gifted, so I wasn’t willing to do the work to change.  My writing did improve some through college, mostly due to practice, and I somehow survived all of my graduate level research papers.

Why I Can’t Stop Writing

After I graduated I ignored my writing except for the occasional love note or journal entry. But I am discovering that I need to write almost as much as I need to eat and breathe. I write because reflection is an important part of who I am.  Because I need to sort through the tangle of ideas, inspirations, and questions in my brain. Because my writing still organizes and communicates those ideas more effectively than talking, and I am a lot nicer person when I can write out my less pleasant thoughts  (just ask my Dad).

In this season of life when I can’t distract myself from the jumble of thoughts in my head with more physical tasks, writing has allowed me to find purpose and to find areas I can grow in. But as I sit here struggling to write out my thoughts in blog post form, that fixed mindset voice still whispers,”Real writers are naturally good at sharing Ideas. You will never be a real writer.”

But a stronger voice reminds me that I write because I believe that God wants me to share what I am learning and to continue growing--even if I am not the next mega-blogger.

Further Reading:

How My MBTI Helped Me Find a Personal Growth Outlet (Reflective Homemaker)

What Having a Growth Mindset Actually Means (Harvard Business Review)

What does it really take to be a writer?

 

How about you? Is there a talent that you never fully developed because it stopped coming naturally? What areas do you struggle with a fixed mindset? What areas can you start applying a growth mindset to today?

 



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