What does it really mean to be a good writer?
A question on education, talent, and the pure passion for writing
I never received a degree in writing — far from it, actually. I was never formally trained other than the standard English classes in public school. I took a few different writing courses at University, but never made writing my primary focus. I never even considered going in that direction, to be completely honesty.
I never thought about writing as a career, nor did I think that it could be something that was revenue-generating unless were a famous author, that you’ve written a book, or have been published in an esteemed journal, magazine, or newspaper.
But times have changed.
With thanks to the rapid advancement of technology and social media, many undiscovered writers from all corners of the globe have access to multiple outlets to showcase their writing abilities to online readers. On top of that, writers have the ability to be compensated for their work even if they aren’t necessarily well-known.
And the thing is, anyone can write — Just like anyone can run or dance or sing.
But just because you have the ability to do so, does that necessarily mean that you are fast? Or that you can dance well? Or have a good voice?
So, the question is —
How do you distinguish the good writers from the mediocre? And dare I even say, how do you distinguish the good writers from the bad ones?
I’ve always had some small hindsight in wondering whether or not I should have gone in the direction of pursuing an actual degree in Writing, English, or Journalism. Of course, the past is the past and I obviously can’t change that now.
However, I still do consider if it’s worth it to get a Certification in Writing or pursue a Master of Fine Arts, with a concentration in Writing.
I often wonder,
What percentage of Writers whose articles I read actually have a certification or a degree in the field?
But, then I realize,
Just because you love to do something doesn’t mean you necessarily went to school for it.
And just because you didn’t go to school for something doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t become successful in that field.
There was absolutely no way for me to predict that I would have still loved writing this much when I got into my twenties. Not everyone is so sure of what they want to do or who they want to be when they’re in college.
After all, people change their minds. We may want to try something new. Or we may get tired of what we are already doing. So, there’s no way of actually knowing how things will pan out.
What I really want to know is this —
Does “good writing” need to be taught?
Should I go back to school?
Should I take online courses?
Should I just continue to write for the sake of writing?
I guess all of those answers are contingent upon what I want to get out of it. So, I better get searching then.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” — Lewis Carroll