Requirements of a Writer
Writing is one of the easiest professions to get into. All one really needs is a pen and paper, or in most cases, a computer. There is no licensing requirement, as there is for lawyers or doctors. You do not have to have five years experience, as is the requirement for many positions.
As well, you don't need a lot of expensive equipment, as you would if you were a plumber, or a carpenter. To become a writer, you simply write. And that sounds so easy, right? So what is required for writing?
It is deceptively easy, but oh so difficult. And one of the most difficult aspects of writing is overcoming the psychological barriers in your own mind. Writing requires a great deal of emotional stamina, and tests the very core of who someone is because to write, you need hope.
Hope is Required to Write
One of the biggest requirements for writing is HOPE! Hope is required to write! How so? Here a few ways that you need hope to write:
- You must have hope, in order to not give up on a project before you even start.
- You must have some kind of hope as you start out, that something good will come out of your pen.
- If you are actually writing something that other people are going to read, you have to have hope that the piece has potential. You must believe that you have something to share.
Another hub I just read recently by Tipaogue, called My Fear of Failure, talks about how she was afraid to write, because everything in her mind was telling her it was impossible. This was a lack of hope. And without hope, we are held back by our fear.
I confess that often when I sit down to write, I feel tension, fear and anxiety. These are some of the things that I fear:
- I'm not sure if what I am writing is good enough
- Not sure if people will like it.
- Not sure if it's worth my time to sit down write.
- I am especially afraid that I will not be able to sustain enough of my ideas to carry me towards making a full article or chapter.
Yes, to be successful as a writer, we need hope and her close sister, faith. Closely related to hope, is faith. Faith in those future readers and belief that they will eventually come.Faith that what you are doing is worthwhile, and has a purpose. Otherwise, how could any writer continue? It would be seem hopeless and bleak.
We need faith and hope to continue and to believe we can do this, that it is worthwhile, and that we will finish. We need faith that what we are writing will be of value to others.
Famous Writers Talk About Writing
Hope and faith are spiritual characteristics, and are the things that journalism school, and writing textbooks can't really teach you.
Having hope to keep going, and keep trying is important in whatever one does in life, but is especially important in writing because writing involves one's self. Everything that is written ultimately comes from the individual's mind and heart. Yes, they must work with facts, but the way a writer puts these facts together comes from within.
It is perhaps for this reason that many writers have made some astounding statements about writing. For example, Walter Wellesley(Red)Smith said this: "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Smith is acknowledging that writing takes everything from you. Everything!
A very similar quote to that one is by Earnest Hemingway. He said: "There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter, and bleed." Wow! Written by a writer considered one of the best in the English language. He obviously did not find it easy.
E.L. Doctorow called writing a "socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." He was comparing writing to a mental illness! A form of craziness! I think he was acknowledging the utmost openness and vulnerability that a writer must endure, in order to perform his craft!
"Every writer I know has trouble writing." came from Joseph Heller, an icon in the writing world. He made the statement that it was not easy for anyone.
And from the gifted novelist, John Steinbeck: "The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true." Steinbeck's statement is about believing, and having hope in what you are doing, even when no one else does. Powerful!
One more from Steinbeck: "In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.
Reflections on Red Smith
To give some context to this article, I am going to briefly share my own journey with writing, and the need for hope.
I have always loved books. My Mother told me that I used to have ten books in my bed, every night, before I went to sleep. Most kids had toys; I had books. And writing, and making up stories has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
In grade five, I won a writing contest, and got my name in the paper. I excelled in school assignments that involved writing. And all throughout my preteen and teen years, I kept a diary. I still do.
That said, however, I did not have much hope that I could make it as a writer: for it was a very competitive field. I did not believe that I could make it. That I was enough of a person to stand up and be counted, as a writer, or any other creative field. Good feedback was not enough to compensate for the gnawing insecurity and pain I had from living in a home with abuse towards my Mother and myself.
My writing was my escape ... a form of therapy, and yes, hope. For many years, I did not have the courage, or the confidence to believe that I could follow my dreams of a creative career. Unsure of what to do with my life, for several years after high school, I floundered in entry-level positions, working far beneath my dreams.
Through verbal abuse, I had been told I was not capable, and was not worthy, many times. And I believed it. And lived it. I even went to journalism school for one semester, but dropped out, not believing that I could finish. At the age of 25, I finally went back to school, and finished my degree in English Education. I still struggled with insecurity, though, even as a teacher.
Three years ago, I married a man who believed in me. For the first time, I had consistent positive feedback from a man. This man encouraged me to write. Six months ago, he asked me, "why don't you write?" And I had no answer. I had to do it. To pursue that dream once again.
I still struggle with those feelings of anxiety and fear when it comes to writing. Will this be good enough? Will anyone like it? Who would want to listen to me? But I have to remember, during those times, that writing requires hope, and faith. For me, as a believer, that hope and faith comes from God. Hope and faith are spiritual qualities, and have to be taught to the heart, not the mind. For me, this verse sums up the way I receive hope from God:
For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
--- Psalm 38:15
Renew Your Hope
So, if you struggle with feeling like you are not good enough to write, remember that you are in good company. Some of the biggest names in literature felt the same way. Therefore, it must be normal. One of the hazards of the writing profession. Writing takes everything that you are, and tests the core of your very identity. That can be terribly difficult. Try to renew your hope, and your faith, to continue. Your struggles are not a sign that you are meant to give up, but rather that you are meant to dig deeper.
Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 10, 2015:
@Breanne, thanks so much for the comment, and I apologize for taking so long to respond. You are so right -- practice, talent and reading are all also very important. Hope just lets us keep going. Take care and thanks again!
Breanne Ginsburg on January 07, 2015: