Are you a genuine writer? As in a writer who genuinely represents themselves in whatever fiction, nonfiction, blogging or business writing you produce?
It's a good question, and one that could change your writing life.
Last week, we continued our Genuine Writer series by setting solid foundational examples of how to be a genuine writer: how to stand up for yourself even when people shout that you’re doing it all wrong and declare that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Knowing what you want to write, how you want to write it, and how you want to present it is exceptionally important to being a genuine writer. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of careful research and analysis; of practice, rejection and revision.
It’s that scientific spirit we’re going to explore further below and in the next few weeks to come, starting with this potentially eye-opening concept…
A Genuine Writer Doesn’t Think He or She Is God
The last three weeks were all about empowering you into being a genuine writer. But part of being truly empowered is not being enslaved to yourself.
If that sounds like an odd concept, think it over…
How many times have you let your emotions get the best of you, leading to less-than-desirable results? How about your intellectual or academic understanding of a matter, where you thought you knew it all and ended up with a bit (or a lot) of mud on your face?
The same can apply to every other aspect of being human, from physical to psychological to spiritual. We’re limited little critters with limited little abilities no matter how much we try to prove otherwise.
While every single one of us does indeed “try to prove otherwise,” at least from time to time, there are certain professions and pursuits that tend to get their noses a bit further in the air than others. Doctors. Lawyers.
It’s sad but true. We writers have a bad reputation of being snotty to a ridiculous degree, thinking we’re God’s gift to the world because of what we produce. It’s an attitude captured perfectly in the quote below, attributed to Don DeLillo:
The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence.
This is a quote I’ve lambasted repeatedly over the course of The Genuine Writer blog, and with good reason when it’s one of the snottiest pieces of anti-intellectual nonsense I’ve ever heard.
It’s also an exceptionally anti-genuine writer thing to say.
There is absolutely and completely no way for any human – which we writers are – to stand outside of society. Not unless we go off and become internet-less, phone-less, communication-less hermits. From birth.
Or maybe even before, since a baby in utero can apparently hear, if not sense, their mama’s voice. There’s also no way we can be independent of affiliation when we automatically fall into groups: boy or girl, man or woman; dark-haired, fair-haired or redheaded; tall or short, Italian or Scottish or Nigerian or Chinese or whatever.
And while we can change a lot of details about who we are as we grow, dying our hair or changing our nationality or affiliating with certain political groups over others, we still remain affiliated at every single step of the way. Finally, there’s that last bit of that quote: that writers can be “independent of influence.” I don’t know about you, but I like to think of myself as a pretty independent person. The way I see it, I typically think for myself, speak for myself and act for myself – all good things.
Yet, no matter how independent I ever become, I’m still going to be the product of my upbringing, my sibling order, my personal tastes, my exact education, my proclivities, my prejudices, my experiences and so many other serious or silly factors. Unlike the alleged Don DeLillo, a genuine writer recognizes every single bit of this. Which means that a genuine writer doesn’t think that he’s God.