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Updated on July 15, 2013

By: Wayne Brown

So, somewhere along the path of life, the “writing bug” seems to have bitten you and left its venom flowing through your veins…does that about sum it up? The desire to write is much like the bite of a mosquito in that it quickly turns to an itch that begs to be scratched. Much like that first kiss and the questions which arise from it…am I in love or what? All these emotions emerging forth convincing us that we are “born to write” and write we will.

Writing continues to be a strong medium of communications even in a world that teems with growing technological advancement. It remains strong, likely because people still practice the art of reading as a source of knowledge and mind expansion. This is not to say that writing does not change, like most things with a perpetual flair, it evolves with the times. In early times, man was relegated to drawing crude symbols of communication on cave walls. This process gave way to chiseling his message in stone and eventually evolved to ink and paper methods. Readers depended on the written word getting to them through newspapers and books. People relished the arrival of a hand-written letter catching them up on the gossip and events of some other person’s life. Technology brought typewriters then computers and word processors to replace the ink and paper. The Internet tied the world together in a common bond communications medium and writing adapted to the change. Writers have a certain osmosis ability which allows them to get their message out regardless of the medium.

So the urge strikes and we answer the call. At first we write and share it with no one…maybe we don’t keep it at all. It stays hidden for a while as we do not consider ourselves worthy to call ourselves a writer. Over time we share a little with our close friends or a sibling. We test the water looking to find some acceptance, some basis on which to declare that we have truly become a writer in our own right. All the while, the internal flame is burning and growing, getting hotter and more difficult to contain. The release of self-expression is not enough unless it is accompanied by self-exposure. We wrestle with the emotion of actually posting our work and sharing it with others. Is it good enough? Will they laugh? Can I touch their emotion; bring a smile or a tear? Am I capable enough to be called a “writer”? All these thoughts thunder through our minds as we, on the one hand burn with desire to share our work, while on the other try to fight off the fear of rejection if we should fail in our effort. Finally, mustering all of our courage, we hit that magically publish button and seal our fate. Now, we wait to see if someone actually reads the work and refers to us as “writers”. The suspense is numbing to say the least.

What matters most in a good, capable writer? Is it the discipline to sit and put their thoughts down on the page? Is it the intense burning desire to communicate in this medium? Is it the burning need to get what one has to say in the public eye? Is it just a strong imagination that can create almost anything from nothing simply by dwelling on the subject and writing down the thoughts which come to mind? I am not sure that anyone really knows the answer to that question. There are those who teach writing who will give some classroom analysis of the makeup of a good writer as if to say that good writers are simply the product of good teaching. I, for one, do not know the answer but I am quite sure that good, capable writers are not just the product of good teaching. There is much more to the equation.

Consider the person who is in love with the idea of writing. They want to write. They want to be called a writer and associate with those who write. They have a burning desire to achieve that status yet something within them falls short in their effort to turn out a viable product. The result breaks their heart and they plead with others who write successfully to please show them the way. Though they get help when they solicit it, the desired end is never achieved…not after responding to the urge, reading the books, taking the courses, and doing just about everything in their power to become a good, capable writer. It does not happen. The reality here is the ultimate truth that “desire is never enough”. Hollywood is filled with unknown actors driven with desire; Nashville streets are lined with talent that never gets discovered though desire runs in their veins. Desire, in the end, is just not enough.

I never really fell in love with writing. It was not my primary focus. I fell in love with the story. Early on, I wrote things down to preserve the memory of just how it had imprinted in my mind…my childhood, funny things that happened, fantasy of the mind, dark corners not yet searched. Writing was a way to capture that thought and keep it the same. I gave little thought to sharing it. My focus was to preserve. Finally, I allowed my sister to read some of it. She pushed for me to find ways to publish some of the work. I ignored her pleas thinking it rather uppity to place myself in the image of a writer. Surely people would immediately laugh me back into hiding. I risk the potential of rejection.

My sister finally won the tug of war and I published my first piece on memories of my childhood days playing with other kids in the neighborhood and our fears of an old man who lived there. It took all my strength and courage to press the publish button and I was immediately embarrassed as I did it for I knew rejection was coming. For a while, I was dejected waiting for a response. Little did I know that there was a very good chance no one would even read what I had posted. There was a high probability that I, as a writer, would simply become another statistic of the big, big world. My one published piece thrown into the literary world was not even as large as the smallest crumb in the mouth of a tiny ant crawling across an entire universe.

Lucky for me, it did not work out that way. I did gain readership and over a two year period I expanded my output greatly to cover human-interest short-stories, adventures, political perspectives, and yes, even poetry. Surprisingly, the poetry improved my writing abilities in that it slowed down the process and caused me to look more closely at how I relate things, the statements and the words used. When inspiration comes my way, I attempt to convey it to the reader in a form which will grab the reader, hold his/her interest, and touch them at some level of emotion. To this point, inspiration has always come easily to me.

I developed a following of regular readers. Inevitably, some of them always asked the hardest of questions…”how do you write like that?” I have to laugh when I answer the question because I do not really know the answer and I tell them that. I also tell them that desire alone will not do it nor will the reading of a ton of instructional manuals or the completion of a bunch of classes. Those things might help but in the end it will it not be enough if that is all you will have to go on. If I had to guess, I would say the most important thing is that you have something to say and you feel the urge to say it. That urge should be more the focus than just that of a burning desire to “write”. Stephen King advised, “Write what you know.” I think that is very sage advice for it allows the writer to involve a natural persona in the act which will always come through to the reader. It also tends to soften the “mechanical aspect” of writing driven strictly from a “trained perspective”.

I also play the guitar. I play mostly because I had an urge to sing and perform. I have never really had the dexterity to play the guitar well and when I see someone who can do that, I am in awe. I always ask, “How do you do that?” Their answer always seems to be the same…”you have to practice”. I understand that concept and believe it but I have enough personal experience with struggling with guitar to know that it is more than that. Desire alone, in the case of the guitar, will not make one the master of it. If there is a correlation between music and writing, as writers, do we get better with “practice”? Maybe…I certainly can see that it can help in terms of word use, grammar, and sentence construction. But does it improve the overall interest in the piece itself…does it add value which the reader can sense?

The one conclusion I have made is that I no longer place any real importance on whether folks see me as a writer or not. My work is an expression of me, as a person, just as a painting on a canvas represents not only the skillset of the artist but a look inside that person as well. Writing, like painting, is simply the means by which the work takes on a life of its own; it is not the ultimate goal…only the path. Once that awareness comes about, the focus changes and the realization that a burning desire to write can actually be a distraction is evident.

I wrote this piece to stimulate thinking and discussion. We all have our own experiences and beliefs based on those experiences. Ultimately, each of us has to find our own way to what works best. We cannot ignore the importance of grammar, sentence/paragraph structure, and spelling but we also cannot expect the knowledge of those principles along with a desire to be the key elements in determining our success as a writer.

© Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

19 June 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Rolly A Chabot....Thank you sir! From time to time here on the Hub I see folks who are just overcomed with the desire to write but cannot seem to find their way there. They turn to the mechanical side of the process thinking that learning those elements will fix things and soon they find it does not. Writing relies heavily on imagination and creativity combined with those mechanical elements to arrive where one wants to be. As my dad would say, "want to is not always enough!". ~ WB

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Wayne... wonderful hub that has given us a great look into our own lives. You have touched on many great points and I have bookmarked this one for further reference. Well done and hats off to you.

      Rolly in Canada

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @annart...Your comments color the intent of the article quite well. You have a talent and had nowhere to direct it. Now you have a path and a target so the talent is justified and necessary which feels good. On the other hand, imagine if you did not have the talent but only the burning desire yet could not pull that desire into the necessary skill to put together what you want to do...that is a reality some folks face with not only writing but any pursuit. Thanks much, Ann. WB

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Great hub which made me think carefully from my perspective. I found that, having written all sorts of things for years and not finished them or not had the urge to do anything with them, when I found hubpages it gave me a purpose to write. Before, it was just the wish to write but I had no focus. Now I do, I find that the ideas come and the words flow more easily. I don't really know why!

      Practice is a big part of refining one's art but I think we need a path to direct our thoughts and musings. Great thought provoker, this. Well done!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @sdjishO4joshi....That's great...good luck with the guitar...practice, practice, practice! WB

      @starstream...We all have to find our way and maybe at some point we have to come to terms that this is not our cup of tea. Love of the idea or concept is just not enough to carry us to the higher level, if success and greatness is indeed you aspiration as a writer. Sooner or later, we all have to deal with reality in one form or the other. Thanks much. WB

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Yes, I agree one step at a time. Thanks for sharing your article. We are all on different paths in our lives and we do need to press forward to develop our experience and talent.

    • ashish04joshi profile image

      Ashish Joshi 

      6 years ago from India

      Pretty much my story...

      And guess what, I too love playing guitar.

      'up' and 'interesting' .

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Mhatter99...So true and that is the attitude that all of us who want to communicate in the written medium need to step at a time. Thanks much! WB

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      someone said,"...every journey starts with a single step."

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @shampa sadhya...I believe a common thread here at the Hub is that we all suffer the publication jitters. It is a natural reaction because we want our work to be good and received in that fashion. Just to know that everyone deals with those issues is enough to inspire a greater level of confidence because we know that we are not alone in our feelings or our fears. The environment that I encounter here at HubPages has been really wonderful because there are so many great people here who take the time to read and give feedback and to share their own experiences...that alone is inspiration clear and simple. I have looked at other sites attempting to broaden my base and my horizons but have not yet found any place where the mechanics of the system works as well as here. I am loving the feedback on this hub as I did not originally write it to post here. I thought this might be one that I shared on a different the last minute, I changed my mind and I am so glad that I did. Thanks much for the good words, Shampa. WB

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 

      6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and beautiful!

      I loved this write up from the core of my heart. I must mention one sentence of yours: "must have something to say and feel the urge to say it." You are cent percent correct. Practice makes everyone and everything perfect but to practice you need to have the urge. If there is no urge then who will give a try to practice. Thanks for writing such a beautiful hub. I was always afraid of rejection and am still so even after my 42 hubs. Hope this article gives me the much needed strength.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @CMerritt...I think you do a fine job of writing, Chris...much better than some that I have seen who no attention to grammar or spelling. You write from true inspiration and from the heart. Your emotion and personality all come through in your writing got it going! Thanks much! WB

      @TToombso8...Information regurgitation is not quite on the beam for me writing-wise. It has a place for those readers who are satisfying that curiosity but it does not touch the senses or the emotion...mostly a function of research and detail. That type of writing likely can be taught effectively in the classroom as it is basically a "canned" style and approach....not really my cup of tea. Thanks for the good words! WB

      @billybuc...Thank you, Bill. there is much I do not know on the subject but I tried to leave that part out! LOL! WB

      @writer20...Joyce, you sound like the lady who wrote "Shades of Gray"...I understand that one is pretty risque. Supposedly she wrote it on here Blackberry while commuting on the train to work...Wow! Thanks for the good words. WB

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I sure was bitten by the writers bug which shocked the heck out of me.

      My last job was rather quite that's when I decided on a story I can't put on H/P because of the sex scenes, they are a bit too graphic. I finished that then another popped into my head. That bug keep surging through my body until about two years ago. I guess I took the antivenom without realising it.

      Voted up useful awesome and interesting, Joyce.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent reflections, Wayne! You echo many of my same thoughts about writing. Thank you for the great thoughts and yes, it did stimulate ideas for this writer.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Wayne: So many points are right on. I think about these things when I see writers that are just throwing copy out there for the sole reason of making money. You can definitely tell the difference between someone with a passion and someone that is using it as a tool and will probably be on to the next get rich quick scheme next Thursday. Voted up and much loved.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I will do! LOL!

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Wayne I think you said it best with, if you "feel the urge to say it". That is all I do when I write. That is why I tabbed much of my writing a "rant" in lieu of anything else to describe my thoughts.

      You have played an instrumental role in my presence here on hubpages. You have always been kind enough to offer advice to me, and make wonderful suggestions on how I can improve my writing.

      I still do not consider myself a writer, but rather a guy who tries real hard to put his thoughts to words. I'm thankful for "spell check" and "google" where I lean on both of them for help with my lack of knowledge in the language arts department.

      As always, you manage to spread more of the Wayne Brown wisdom to us, in a fashion that has made me one of your number one followers.

      Up, awesome, interesting and useful,


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @fpherj48....You speak of the "it" which I hinted at but stayed away from in this piece. I truly believe people are born with God-given talents in many areas including music and writing. For some, it manifests itself from birth and quickly becomes a focus through life, whether it leads to success or not. For others, it masks itself in many forms including frustration until that person finally sees the light. I was much like the second example...I mistaken my talents for writing and focused on music for a long time....very frustrating. When I did take up writing, I found a sense of satisfaction, joy, and release that I had not known in any other way. Success is measured in many ways but one of the best ones is discovering your own abilities then using them to their best to find serenity and happiness. Sometimes that success is simply measured in the motivation and impact that one has on others. Thanks much and so glad you liked it. WB

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wayne.....My love of writing and my actual "need" to write began so young, it was unsteady printing of a child (mis-spelled words and all)

      I wrote "stories" (or what I felt were stories) to my parents and sister...even to our family pets.

      I stapled pages together to make a book and created and designed my own greeting cards with the help of some paste and pics cut from magazines.

      Looking back, I marvel now at this little girl, because there HAD to be some sort of tug within me....that sort of took a life form of it's own.

      I love this hub, always you get your readers to do some serious thinking and soul-searching.....Thank you.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Angela Brummer....Try "eye of newt" first sniffed over a pan of boiling water! LOL! Thanks, Angela. WB

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is great article someday I think I may need an Antivenin!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Victoria Lynn...Thanks much, Victoria. It is kind of like I told my son who "desires" to be a policeman..."There is more to the job than the gun and badge". I think after a few years of working at it, he now understands the concept and he might be get to be one. WB

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I enjoyed this hub! Very useful in getting all of us to be more introspective about our desire to be writers. I like what you said about writing poetry, how it slows you down and forces you to look more closely at how things relate. Excellent observation. In that way, it really can improve our writing.

      I'm sharing this hub. More writers and wanna-be writers need to read it. I clicked on lots of votes, too, including up!


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