Successful and even great writers come from all walks of life. Regardless of your background or life experiences, one of the most important things to remember if you are considering becoming a writer is not to let your past interfere with your present. Consider that Mark Twain had careers as a typesetter and a riverboat pilot before he became one of the most notable American authors of our time. Another important thing to remember is that it makes no difference where or how you learned to write. One of the greatest authors of all time, Earnest Hemingway, said it best: “It’s none of their business that you learned to write. Let them think you were born that way.” There is no correct beginning nor is there the perfect background to becoming a writer, only that you do, indeed begin, do it with passion and determination and make your dream become reality.
Since publishing my first novel, Errand Runner, I’ve had numerous others tell me that they’ve thought about writing a book for years, or, in some cases, even decades, yet have put it off for a myriad of reasons. I had one person tell me that they have a great idea for a novel and a wonderful story to tell, but they just don’t think they have the talent to transform their story into something great. I like the way that Robert Benchley, an American humorist, columnist and actor, addressed his self-perceived lack of talent when he said, “It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” Often times, people don’t give themselves enough credit and let that lack of self-confidence hold them back; don’t be one of those people.
I think that many writers in waiting are deterred, because they think their style may be too ordinary or not eloquent enough to become a successful author. The truth is that ordinary and common language is the backbone of most, if not all, great books. Once again I turn to the great Earnest Hemingway who said, “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” Granted, most great authors seem to have special gifts, and perhaps they do. The difference between those who have become great writers and those who simply aspire to become great writers is doing it instead of just thinking about it. Writing is both a privilege and a gift. Take advantage of the privilege and give it as a gift.