Recently I’ve been looking at some writing opportunities that have come my way. It’s all rather exciting as I think about this path, I’ve been taking finally showing some attractions. One of the applications I filled out online asked me the question: In a sentence of 10 words, please tell us why you think you’re a good writer.
Why do I think I’m a good writer? I answered with something like, “I’m a good writer because I’ve experienced and [noticed?] the things of life and am able to relate that to the masses.” I’m not sure if that’s exactly what I said, but it’s pretty close. I’m not even sure I used 10 words. Even though I answered it fairly quickly on a low phone battery, it made me ask myself that question: Why do I think I’m a good writer?
I’ll be honest, like most writers I think what I write is junk. I refuse to believe that people who read it and like it are all lying out of kindness to me. But I appreciate it. If I were to be truthful, I would say that I think I’m a good writer because I’ve been doing too long to not be a good writer. I’ve been writing since the 3rd Grade, so I would hope that I’ve learned my craft/discipline. What I don’t appreciate is when people or other people claim to be “the best.” Especially in writing.
Many writers have said no one is the greatest in writing because we’re all learning. I would even go further and stake the claim that no artist in any discipline (music, literature, art) is the best. They may be very good at what they do, but not the best. Stephen King said he views talented writers as those who can pay a bill with the check from their writing. I’ve known many good writers who can’t pay their bills with their writing for one reason or another. King is revered as one of the best and most writers I talk or hear from love him. I don’t. I don’t read Stephen King because I don’t like his stuff.
I want writers and artists of all disciplines to cut themselves a freaking break. You are not as good or better or worse than Ernest Hemingway. I might feel like him at times but there’s only one Hemingway, so no one can be like him. There’s no artist like you. You have something to offer that no other artist can. What makes you a good [insert discipline] is you’re you. Figure out what you do and keep practicing, because nobody is truly going to be the greatest, because it’s all up to the audience.