Normally my message is this: Everyone can write.
Everyone can learn how to write well. It just takes practice and a little bit of time.
However, I’ve recently realized this might not be the case.
Not everyone should be a writer. Why? Because I see so many articles that are essentially the same thing. Clones. They clone the advice from another blog post and pass it off as something “new.”
It ain’t new, and to me that’s not quality.
Well, it’s not quality when that’s all you do as a writer.
True writers write about what THEY know, not what somebody else knows.
True writers have the eye to see and talk about stuff that nobody notices.
The problem is 95% of the blogging world views everything through the same lens.
Want to increase productivity? Go take a cold shower.
Want to save more money? Pay yourself first.
On and on we go with the same recycled crap.
When someone comes along to offer a different prism, though, that writer can get real popular real fast. That leads to my first point.
You Shouldn’t Be A Writer If You Don’t Say Anything Interesting
Great writers are first great thinkers. Many believe writing is about stringing words together in a beautiful fashion. No, great writing begins with the idea itself, and many who try their hand don’t have interesting ideas.
They’re not succinct, they’re not interesting, they’re not helpful, and they’re not original.
If what you are writing has been written before, don’t write it.
If your secret to acing job interviews is to drink a red bull five minutes before, then great! That’s something new. That’s an idea I’ve never heard before that I might want to try if I’m struggling to find work.
Just give us something new.
It’s that simple.
If you struggle to do that, then writing might not be for you.
You Shouldn’t Be A Writer If You Can’t Trust Your Own Opinions
Many writers struggle with trusting they have something interesting to say, so they copy other people.
Don’t read other blog posts to get inspiration for yours. That’s the first commandment in Tom Kuegler’s 10 Writing Commandments.
Thou shalt not read other blog posts to get inspiration for yours.
You shalt go about your day and wait for an idea to pop into your brain. You go from there, always.
I write headlines down on my phone all the freaking time. If I’m on my computer and I get an idea, I write it down in a new draft on Medium. This blog post was an idea that popped into my head a few days ago.
It should pretty much always come from you.
Some People Just Don’t Have The Mind For It
Writing is a skill that anybody can learn, but experiences matter, too.
Before I started writing on Medium, I did a 5-month road trip across the United States by myself. I made money freelancing, I saw friends, I fell in love, I came into contact with different political beliefs, and I saw some pretty incredible shit.
The one thing that became painfully clear to me was that young college graduates can absolutely do awesome stuff after college.
We don’t need to pay our dues. We can taste freedom, make money our own way, and chart our own path.
I created the Post-Grad Survival Guide on Medium days after I got back home, and I started writing about everything I learned. My goal was to give inspiration to those millennials who wanted a different kind of life. Not the 9–5. An adventure.
The lesson? My experiences led to me writing about this stuff.
What are your experiences? We all have them. We all have interesting things to say. If you can’t tap into them, then you shouldn’t be a writer.
My advice is simple: If you want to write, then go have an experience. Go travel outside the country for a few weeks or months and see what you learn. Maybe you want to try to lose 20 pounds. Maybe you want to start a business. Great. These are all experiences worth writing about, and they’ll give your life and ideas color.
If you’re not a writer, become one by doing cool shit. Become one by doing stuff you’re scared of doing.
I promise that when you do, the words will flow from your fingers like a fountain.