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‘Mom, Dad, I want to be a writer.’

Published on January 20, 2021


‘Mom, Dad, I want to be a writer.’

Yes. You must become a writer, a world-class author, pen a masterpiece, sip coffees in Paris, win prizes and prize money, maybe the Nobel prize for literature, and be spoken about in the same sentence as Shakespeare. Yes.


You could just write.

Just that. Simply sit down and write whatever comes to your head. Anything and everything. Put it down. And there you go, you’re a writer. Of course, then you go about becoming better at it. The trick is that every time you write, you become slightly better.

The problem comes from having the expectation that the very first thing you write, should be extraordinary. That you must write amazing stuff as soon as the pen touches the paper, or the finger hits the keyboard. But there is absolutely no reason why that should happen. Can you become a CEO of a multinational company on your first day?

So start small, start now. Writing is about expressing the person you are right now. If you come up with a story, it’s going to be from the person you are at the moment. Don’t look at it as a goal-based thing, we anyhow have enough of that in school. You will change, your writing will change, and your stories will change. So you might as well enjoy what you write in this moment.

Maybe you just want to start writing your thoughts every day, maybe you want to start an anonymous blog, maybe you want to write a four-line poem. There are no rules to what you can do. Find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, and write it down. It could be about how your cornflakes might feel, floating in your bowl of milk at breakfast, waiting to be eaten. Write about the walk you took from your class to your school gate at the end of the day. Take the most random part of your day, and put your own twist to it.

Now when people think about writing professionally, we often get this warm feeling that ‘Hey maybe I could be a writer’. But then reality slaps us in the face and self-doubt makes us go back into the safety of our shells. It also doesn’t help that successful writers are spoken about as if they are God-like, almost unreachable. And on the flip side, the unsuccessful ones are thrown in our faces as an example of why we won’t make it either.

Well first, let’s ignore people who say that writing isn’t a profession. Here are some:

  • Copywriter in Advertising

  • Journalist

  • Professional Blogger

  • Digital content writer

  • Scriptwriter

  • Technical writer

  • Magazine writer

  • Novelist

  • Poet

You could pursue a proper education and get a high paying job doing all of the above. Sure it’s not going to pay as much as an Investment Bank, but it all depends on how interested you are in writing. There are courses in great universities which can help you develop those skills, opening your world to further possibilities.

High school is a great time to start writing. There is less pressure, you learn faster and you can take time to develop your skills. We sometimes get bored even thinking about writing, because it reminds us of English class. But we forget that language can be an art form.

So what more else could you do?

  • You could attend fun workshops. This isn’t like class, nobody is going to talk about grammar. It’s to discuss ideas and convert them into words.

  • Do an internship. Find someone who is a writer, or find someone who works in a writing profession. Beg them to let you intern with them.

  • Enter writing contests. Send in something you wrote. What is the worst thing that can happen?

  • Learn to re-write. We often just write but never look at it again. So maybe create a habit of editing or re-writing your work. But always finish it.

  • Find happiness in imperfection. Your work will never be perfect, enjoy those flaws.

The main thing you can do is to write more. The more you write, and the more you read, the better you become. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll learn from them. Don’t worry about it. Maybe you don’t want to become a professional writer, maybe you just want to write for yourself. That is great and can be an amazing way to let go of any anxiety you feel. Just enjoy the process of expressing yourself now. Later will come whenever it does. What do you want to express right now?

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