The Inevitable Highs and Lows of Life as a Born Writer

A little insight on this rollercoaster ride.

Photo Courtesy of the Author

Qualifications of a born writer

Firstly, what do I mean by ‘born writer’? You’re considered a born writer if:

  1. You prefer writing rather than talking to express yourself.
  2. You use writing as a therapeutic outlet.
  3. You decide one day that you’re a born f*@%ing writer now.

Writers tend to have a natural love/hate relationship with their lives, that’s for sure. So, what are the highs and lows? The love and the hate? Let’s start out with the lows first.

The Lows

  1. Being a writer — at the risk of sounding melodramatic — is torturous at times.

Ever heard the phrase, “Ah, he/she is such a tortured artist/writer”? We are out here metaphorically baring our nakedness to the world. When we’re writing about the things we truly have passion for, we are making ourselves agonizingly vulnerable.

And guess what? Same as any other artist, we often get completely shat on in the form of rejection. It’s a part of the life. Not everyone is going to love what you write, the way you write it, or even a single thing you’ve ever written. It may seem like no one really likes it at all.

You might also like “The Complicated Role Writing Has Played Throughout COVID”.

There’s the catch, though. It’s art. It’s supposed to be your expression and people can take it or leave it, right? Well, sure — but not if you would like some positive recognition every once and a while, and not if you would like to feel like you’re kind of good at something you love.

That’s the most painful part of being a born writer — someone who wouldn’t be happy making money or expressing themselves any other way…you face a lot of rejection. That rejection is bound to eventually wear you down. It’s both discouraging and disheartening.

2. You’ll never forgive yourself if you stop, though.

You can’t just stop. There’s something inside of you that is desperately trying to come out in the form of the written word and it will bother you until you get it out the right way. It’s that un-scratch-able itch that will drive you mad.

Born writers are doomed to spend their whole lives trying to rephrase something until it finally resonates with readers. We have a message to tell the world, but we might not execute the message correctly for quite some time. This is frustrating AF. And cue existential crisis :)

3. We measure our worth by our results. And it’s not always pretty.

Born writers want to be successful with their writing. They either want the money and fame, the appreciation for their skill and tact in the wordly art, or some combination of both.

The thing is, it’s SO hard to become successful as a writer. It’s do-able, but it takes a shit load of patience and that is very sparse in a writer’s world. Whether you desperately want to quit that job you hate and write full-time, or you’re just dying to get your message out to the world, having patience is tough. And having a consistently positive attitude about it is even tougher.

4. We compare ourselves to every other writer.

This isn’t completely bad. There are always things to be learned from others, but things can get personal when you start wondering why the hell no one cares about what you’re saying, while some writers appear on the main feed every damn day.

“Am I…am I just impossible to relate to? Am I doing it wrong? Should I just stop trying?” etc, etc.

It’s like watching your friends meet people left and right. Meanwhile, you’re in the corner ordering a table for one, drinks for two.

The highs

No, I’m not going to be all Negative Nancy today. Being a writer isn’t some horrible fate we’re chained to for life. If there were no rewards, it wouldn’t make much sense for us to keep coming back, now would it?

  1. Even if no one else voices their appreciation of your work, it still feels pretty good to write.

That initial feeling when you’ve rid yourself of what’s been weighing you down that day can be freeing. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, a blogger, or a poet, your writing is inspired by some thought or feeling. Getting it out is both healthy and necessary.

2. Writing is its own love language, and expressing it is a pure reflection of the writer’s soul.

Writing really should be its own official love language. Some people simply express themselves best this way, so why should ‘words of affirmation’ get a category, and not writing? Anyway, this is a ‘high’ because expressing love is one of the most pure, vulnerable things we can do as human beings. To have that privilege is an amazing thing.

Just as not everyone finds someone to whom they can express their love, not everyone can freely and openly express themselves with their writing. Not every person has the privilege to self-publish for the world to see their thoughts and opinions. Therefore, having the freedom to express this love language is something to cherish. Imagine not having this outlet at all!

3. The possibilities of being a paid writer.

I know I spent a good slice of time bitching about how hard it is to be successful, but once you get paid for your first piece of work…it feels incredible. Even if that piece was ghost-written, meaning no one will ever really know what you’ve written, at least the client knows. The client paid you for it, so they must think your writing is pretty good.

Plus, money! Who’s ever going to dislike that, right? Getting paid to do what you love is truly a great feeling. A return client is even better because they are effectively re-affirming the value of your work each time. This should do a lot to validate your confidence if the first time didn’t. Just like that, the reward centre in your brain lights up like a Christmas tree.

4. There is always hope.

If you shift your perspective a little, you can do the old Irish exit from that pity party and move on to, well, a party that’s actually good. As a writer, you can choose to accept the fact that you may not always get the instant gratification you crave. BUT, you can use the disappointment as a challenge to keep doing better.

There’s competition for a reason. It pushes us all to be better writers. It forces us to find different angles of a story. It inspires us to keep going, to not stop until our story has been told, too. Every story deserves to be told, but your mindset can determine whether it’s read or not.

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” — Dr. Reda Bedeir

Anybody can be a born writer, but there are highs and lows that come with the territory. We face rejection despite the fact that we can’t, in good conscience, stop. Writers measure our worth by our results — or lack thereof. We hold ourselves up to every other writer wondering what we’re doing so wrong next to them.

But. The expression of this art form is pure for a born writer because it’s like our love language. It also feels pretty damn good once you’ve created something. Even better is when you start finding people who want to pay you for your talent. There is always hope, and that is the best skill a writer can have…the ability to have a hopeful attitude no matter how many lows they ride. After all, you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows.

Born writer + passionate traveler + yoga instructor = content on travel & adventure, mental health & mindfulness, goals & motivation, love & magic ✨

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store