Understanding Creative Puberty
Anyone who wishes to be a creative writer- that is, a writer who produces fictional works- must go through a period in which their work is generally not very good. This is usually the starting point most authors have. No one, however talented as they may become, begins knowing how to write a bestselling novel, or a short story that is in great demand. If this were so, then the task of writing would be an easy one. Great stories would be a dime a dozen and therefore cheaply acquired. The necessary maturation process a writer goes through makes his own work valuable in the long run by reason of such work becoming ever more scarce the more he improves his craft. Thus, it may be said that improving one’s own writing is improving one’s own potential for profit.
This process is somewhat akin to that of a person’s matriculation during years of puberty. A human being, however advantaged or disadvantaged at birth, nevertheless begins life as little more than a wailing lump of flesh, incapable of looking after itself, prone to injury and accident, easily susceptible to sickness. Compare that condition with that of an adult: an adult, it may be presumed, is capable of looking after himself, has developed a strong enough immune system to ward off most diseases, can withstand shocks and perturbations, and in most cases need not rely upon the care of others.
To suppose that some people are “born to writers” or that only certain people can be writers while others cannot is the same as supposing that some babies are incapable of fully maturing into adults. It makes little matter that one process happens naturally without the permission of the person who experiences it, while the other is the result of practice, acquiring knowledge, patience and lots of hard work. The end is essentially the same: a writer starts off producing fiction not suitable for public consumption in the same manner that a person starts off being unable to form cohesive speech patterns.
As a result, it seems clear that statements to the effect of “not anyone can become a writer” are fallacious, if not absurd. Writing requires practice, as with anything else. No one who takes training courses on how to throw a baseball expects to become a major league baseball pitcher overnight. Nor should anyone who first takes up a pen, or opens a word processing program, expect to write a manuscript capable of earning them a comfortable living on their first try.
That people give up due to frustration, or an inability to overcome writer’s block, is not an indication that only some people can write. At best, it is only an indication that those individuals who did not succeed at becoming good writers were unable to do so. The potential may have lain within them, stifled by any number of factors, or kept hidden inside, never let free by means of self-education. A crucial step in a writer’s maturation process may have been missed, such as getting feedback from an editor, attending a writing seminar, or anything else.
Just as there are conditions the human body can have which impair physical growth- such as osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition which prevents the growth human bones and thus the human body- does not render some people capable of becoming normal, fully-functioning adults, so too does not a lack of success from some writers prevent others from succeeding. Indeed, a condition such as the one described here may be cured at some point in the future. A statement declaring it impossible for physically disadvantaged people to overcome their disadvantages does not take into account the work that doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and all sorts of medical professionals do every day to add to the knowledge of their profession.
So too is it a fallacy to say that a struggling writer cannot overcome his disadvantages through the means of hard work by learning from the example of writers who have come before him, who offer their knowledge to the public. A pessimistic statement made against certain people to become writers is a statement against individual human will, which history has shown can overcome any number of difficulties. It is a statement which says that it is impossible for human beings to produce ever more stories of quality for ever lower prices even while that very process appears to be occurring: more stories are being produced than at any other time in human history, some at less cost than a fast food meal.
However, while I believe that anyone can become an writer, it is not a process that is easy, or at first profitable. Writing is a vocation which is often done on the margins of one’s life, a discipline taken off to one side, a consumption of an individual’s discretionary time away from the business of making money and accumulating wealth. There is no guaranteed path to success for a writer. Indeed, writers can toil in obscurity for years before being “discovered.” The famous authors of the world are by no means representative of the individual writer who must continually toil away at his craft, either by reason of his passion, or to meet his obligations.
The most common result for a writer is to be relatively unknown. This is a natural process which forces writers to increase the quality of their work in order to make more money from it. If this were not so, then anyone could be a writer spewing out any kind of drivel they please. The market for fiction has allowed the best writing to rise to the top, while the rest of it, howsoever good it may be, is less well-known, less famous.
There are, in fact, thousands upon thousands of unknown writers churning out words in the hopes of making a living with their craft. It is very likely that these people were told that their work was impractical, or that they weren’t any good at it. It is very likely that when they attempted to publish their works, they were greeted with rejection slips or, more commonly, outright silence. Some writers give up without an audience. Some press on, determined to make something of themselves, come what may. It is these writers who persevere through all difficulties that we generally recognize as being successful.
Yet, it must be said: if every writer would realize that they have the potential for greatness inside of them, would not they continue along the path they have chosen, regardless of whether people liked their work or not? Perhaps when people say that only certain individuals can become writers, it is this very statement which discourages writers from pursuing their dreams, leaving all future creative efforts unfinished, their dreams scattered to the wind.
I am here to tell you that anyone can become a writer. If you are willing to put in the work, if you are willing to weather the storms that will come your way as a writer, if you are willing make yourself as a person better suited to the task of writing, then you can do it. Just as each baby has the potential to become an adult, so too does every adult have the potential to become a writer. The talent already lies within you. It’s just a matter of finding it, honing it, and using it.
About the Author:
Winter Trabex is an author of four novels who lives in central Pennsylvania. Her first non-fiction book, How to Write Fiction: Wrangling With the Written Word was released in August 2014. She has been writing for fifteen years.
How to Write Fiction: Wrangling with the Written Word
Author: Winter Trabex
E-Book: 71 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital (August 15, 2014)
Have you ever wondered how to write fiction, or how to write better fiction? Winter Trabex provides the answers in this book. In her 15 years experience as a writer, publisher and editor, she shares the secrets she has learned along the way.
-How to write with an extemporaneous style without the use of an outline.
-The role of the human brain in writing good fiction.
-How to make a story read well.
-How to describe characters and settings.
-How to manage English grammar for maximum effect.
-Choosing the correct environment to write.
-What kind of books to write that will sell in the market.
This book also includes a sample short story, “The Wolves at Night” in which the author provides a realistic sample of all the kind of fiction she believes work best.