Everyone thinks that they can't be a writer. People tell me all the time that they wish they could write like I can. As flattered as I am by that, anyone can write as well as I can. I’m not just saying that to make you feel good, either. I can guarantee that anyone who wants to be a writer can be a writer.
I started writing creatively when I was in eighth grade, and let me tell you: I was bad. I was just terrible; it makes me cringe to go back and read it. It's funny because people always assume that I've always been good at it, but oh boy, they're wrong. My ideas were played out, my characters were flat, and everything was overdramatic and depressing.
But I didn't give up on writing just because I was garbage. Yeah, it probably helped that I was blissfully unaware of just how garbage I was, but I knew I wasn't Shakespeare. Still, it was fun. So I kept doing it.
That's something that I think all of us need to get more in touch with. You don't have to be good at something to enjoy doing it. I wrote bad emo poetry and boring personal narratives and weird fanfiction. I wrote and revised and edited and deleted and even published a few things. I followed Facebook pages that gave writing tips, I found websites that gave creative writing prompts and building blocks for ideas, and I basically lived on Thesaurus.com.
So little of what you read from my writing is actually raw talent. It's born of flow charts, adjective lists, checklists, WikiHow articles, and years of trial and error. You don't need overwhelming amounts of talent to be a writer, the way you would need it to play a sport or be a singer. All you really need is an idea.
That's why I think it's a crime that fanfiction gets such a bad rep. I'm not ashamed to admit that when I started writing, I wrote fanfiction. I'm also not ashamed to admit that I still write it. Fanfiction is such a great opportunity for a budding writer because the characters are already there. All you have to worry about is the plot.
Not to mention, I've read fanfictions that were better than books. Some of the most talented writers on the internet write fanfiction. It can be just as gripping and moving just as engaging and exciting as regular fiction. Fanfiction also lends itself to people who want to write LGBT characters. As a gay person myself, I like to read fanfiction to see those sexualities be represented, when a lot of times, books don't include them.
I think every writer should try writing fanfiction at some point in their career. It really allows you to focus on things like voice, mood, literary devices and settings. Since thinking of original characters can oftentimes be the hardest part of writing, these things don't always get enough attention.
I love to write, but I am by no stretch of imagination the best writer out there. I always end up writing in a more stream-of-consciousness style, and that's hard to follow sometimes. I don't follow all the rules, I don’t write every day like I should, and I'm overcritical and rewrite things five or six times before I let anyone else read them. I've still got a lot to learn. But I really love writing, and if you enjoy it too, do it. It doesn't matter if you’re the worst writer out there; you can only get better the more you do it.
Anyone can do it. All they need is the guts to give it a shot and put themselves out there.