Are You That Good of a Writer?

I’m going to front load this one. I hate Buzzfeed and all those lists. And they keep coming! These lists that tell you whether you’re a real writer or not, whether you’re a real artist, how do you know if you’re really from this country. Its the “No True Scotsman” Fallacy people! Learn logic and rhetoric!

Sorry, I’ll back up. There was another one of those posts today that make their rounds on Facebook and Twitter (and its almost always Facebook and Twitter). This one was on Grammarly and was “6 Signs You’re A Good Writer (And Just Don’t Know It Yet).” It showed up on writers groups with a bunch of people patting themselves on their backs. I’m not going over the list in detail, except to say that a lot of this is just stuff that people do. There may be a correlation between these and good writers, but correlation is not causation. STATISTICS!

These things though, they’re toxic. They’re terrible! Okay, I’m doomsaying a bit.

The thing is, if you’re a good writer, a six point list that someone put together according to principals of virality and SEO isn’t going to be the thing to tell you. Yet I see writers looking at these lists deciding that “you know what, terrible sales and editors telling me that I have no plot be damned! I do these things so I’m a good writer!” Sure. Alright. If this is the definition you choose to use, then yes. You’re a great writer. Congrats.

The thing is, its not some thing that you’re just magically good at. Its a process. Its ongoing. You shouldn’t be comparing yourself to others, just to yourself. Get better. Just keep improving. I’m trying to make a living at this, maybe you aren’t. Even if you aren’t, though, why are you listening to a list on the internet? Listen to writers you respect, listen to yourself, and just keep getting better. Ignore these freaking lists like the plague, the same way you should avoid any award that you pay to get.

Get out of here, and start writing. GO!

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