Henry Miller once said, “Writing is its own reward.”
Writing is a form of art. And this brings me back to the most commonly asked question, “what makes someone a good writer?”
Is it good grammatical skills or a writer who possesses extensive knowledge about the subject they’re writing on?
Is it someone who is an expert in his area of work or is it a person who writes words as beautiful as the cascades of Niagara falls? Is a good writer someone who writes relatable poems or is it someone who writes words of value? The truth is, there is no exact definition of a “good writer,” unlike all the other articles you’d read on the internet.
If I could, I would write an extensive list of all the attributes that a good writer must-have. But that is just not true. When I was in my junior year of college, my literature professor once gave me a piece of advice that will stick with me for many years to come.
She said, “There is no such thing as a good writer or a good piece of writing. Someone’s writing might be relatable to you as a reader, it might even plug into your heartstrings and make you weep. But for someone else, it might be nothing but plain text. Not everybody understands the beauty behind the tragedy of Shakespeare’s plays and not everyone tries to understand the hidden grief in Edger Ellen Poe’s poems. A writer’s words that might be extraordinary in your eyes, can merely be plain words in the eyes of another. But that does not mean your worth is determined by what they think of you. Your worth as a writer is determined by how much you’re willing to dip deep inside of yourself to bring out the words caused by your emotions of pain, anger, happiness, love, lust, or anguish. Your worth as a writer is not determined by how many press outlets have your content published. Rather, it is determined by the weight and the impact your words carry. Words written from one’s heart are always raw, they’re always pure. Because believe me when I tell you this, words written from your heart are never wasted, nor are they useless. If you write from your heart, it is bound to touch the heart of another, it is bound to touch the heart of your reader.”
When I was in 11th grade, I had just discovered my hidden passion for weaving words, literature, and poetry at the age of sixteen. One weekend, I decided to watch a movie named “The Dead Poet’s Society,” as recommended by one of my schoolmates.
One of the most famous lines from that movie was “We don’t read and write poetry because it is cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, business, law, and engineering are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, and love, these are what we stay alive for.”
A good writer writes the word of truth, he writes words that compel someone to take action. Decades ago, words were used to cause movements and revolutions. But know this, if you have a story, if you have a voice that deserves to be heard, then don’t be afraid to pick that pen and inscribe your words onto the pages of your diary. We all start somewhere.
J.K Rowling was not born as a best-selling novelist. She had to work her way to the top, following the death of her mother, losing her jobs, leaving her abusive marriage behind, barely passing through her life by doing low-income jobs, and she had to hear multiple “no’s” before hearing that one “yes” that could change her life forever.
The only difference between a good writer and a bad writer is that a good writer believes in himself, he believes in his work, he believes that his ideas are unique, and are worth publishing. But a bad writer self-rejects, and believes that his ideas are tasteless or useless.
As Roy T. Bennett writes in his book, The Light in the Heart, “Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.” Would you spend the rest of your life believing you’re a bad writer? Or will you muster up the courage to believe in the beauty of your ideas and get them published for the world to read? The answer is for you to decide.