John Scalzi on Being a Writer, a Professional Writer, and a Good Writer

This is a really good read for anybody who has ever asked themselves “am I a writer?” (or really any other kind of artist; painter, singer, dancer, etc.).  I think that Mr. Scalzi hits the mark right on the bullseye with each of the answers he provides (so I’ll let you read his stuff, as he explains them much better than I can). 

I have, at various times, asked these exact questions to myself, and applying Mr. Scalzi’s logic I think I can come up with some pretty good and comfortable answers.  So . . .

Am I a writer?

Well, considering I’ve been keeping this blog going for over five years now and I regularly write a lot of other things simply for the pleasure of writing, I think I can safely answer that “Yes, I am a writer.”

Am I a professional writer?

Probably not really.  I do a lot of technical writing for my job, but it is not my primary or regular duty.  I used to write some brief articles for a bit of cash, but I haven’t done that for some time, and even when I was doing it I can’t say that it was all that regular.  So being honest here I’d say that I am not a professional writer, which is okay by me.  I do wonder if I could be a professional writer, and that is a matter I often consider pursuing, but until I attempt to make some bucks out of my writing I guess I won’t really know one way or another.

Am I a good writer?

This questions, even using Mr. Scalzi’s analysis as a guide, is difficult to determine.  There is a part of me (perhaps a somewhat vain and proud part of me) that wants to exclaim to the world, “Hell yes I’m a good writer!”  But then a more humble sentiment kicks in and I feel like dialing it back.  I do believe I am a competent writer.  I have spent many years now practicing writing and I believe that I am almost always successful at getting my messages across. however, I know that there are a number of areas that I could use improvement on (I am horrible at self-editing and probably a little too fond of adverbs, just to name a few things that come ot mind). If I had to guess, with all honesty, I’d say that I am generally a consistently competent writer who enjoys the occasional bit of writing that is downright good.  I’ll take that, considering that most of what I do, as far as writing goes, is for personal pleasure first and foremost.

So anyhow, if you have ever wondered about questions like these (whether for writing or some other art form) I highly recommend reading Mr. Scalzi’s contemplation on then.  not only is it an enjoyable read (Mr. Scalzi is a good writer) on its own, but I also think that it is pretty accurate and honest.

As a bit of a post script, if you haven’t read John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, it is really quite worth it.  I easily rank it as one of my favorite blogs to read.

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~ by Nathaniel on January 30, 2012.

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