Recently, a fan of CLG Entertainment and The Write Life for You articles I write contacted me. The fan, a writer, asked, "How do you know if you have the talent to pursue writing? Words have always had a powerful pull on me, but I don't know if I can actually write ... Do you have medicine for my affliction?"
I wanted to share my response because I think it might be beneficial to those of you out there feeling, thinking the same thing.
You know, the need to pursue writing often comes before one even KNOWS if he or she has talent. It comes from a desire, a need to express something. The fact that you're pulled to write is BIG. For me, writing was always a NEED. Started writing when I was 10, and it was all about looking at the world and writing what interest me, then what I didn't understand, then what I hated, then what I wanted to be made right, and on and on.
That pull to write is important because it will warm your heart when you're rejected, it will urge you on when you receive criticism, and it will move you to want to learn so that you can better your craft.
First and foremost, I think you need to KEEP the pull. Recognize it. Communicate with it. Nurture it.
Allow the pull to keep you writing.
As you write, think about what you seem "called" to write about. This calling isn't set in stone, but it's a great place to begin to think about who you are as a writer and what you hope to convey in your writing.
As you write, READ. Read works you deem "good," and be able to illustrate to yourself why they are good and what you can glean from these findings for your own writing.
As you write, READ. Read works you deem "bad," and be able to illustrate to yourself why they might be bad and what you can glean from these findings for your own writing.
As you write, READ. Read works about writing, especially those books that delve into the issues you find you make consistently in your work. You want as many tools in your writer's toolbox as possible.
Connect with other writers, especially those willing to read and critique your work. It's important to know what you want to get out of a critique group and what you can bring to that group; you do not just want to jump into a group and wallow within it. And be open to constructive criticism.
And almost as important as your writing these days is your platform - who you are, what you stand for, how your writing reflects this, who you connect with, network with, how you BRAND yourself.
But ultimately, I think it is about the PULL. If you don't feel moved to write, who will be compelled to read WHAT you write?