As a professional writer I get asked this question a lot. This is just about the first question I’m asked when other people find out what I do for a living. I get it from adults unable to get a grasp on the art of writing, or younger people that want to write for a living when they grow up. The only answer I have found that comes close to the truth of how I got to be a professional writer is pretty simple yet incredibly hard for some to understand. I simply write.
Yes, having the ability to write is more than likely a gift some people have. I personally can write but if you were to put me in a kitchen and ask me to make a meal or bake a masterful cake? Nope. You’ll have yourself a kitchen on fire and I’ll more than likely have caused myself some pretty severe burns in the process. I don’t have a gift for cooking. A lot of people can make beautiful dishes with ease. I’m not one of those people. My gift is for writing. This may sound like a negative for a lot of potential writers or those hoping for a career in writing. It may be true that being a professional writer requires some gifted attributes but that doesn’t mean learning to write well or enjoy writing has to be innate.
Anyone can learn to write clearly and cleanly. I call this my CC Law. As a frequent watcher of terrible hospital shows, I always hear the fake doctors scampering around calling out that they need 2-5 CC’s of something. For me, Clearly and Cleanly are the two CC’s I offer to those learning how to write competently.
The first C is writing clearly. A writer always needs to make sure they got their point across. If you read over what you’ve just written and have no earthly idea what you were trying to say, you’re going to need to toss it and start again. Trying to manipulate what you’ve just written is likely to make it even harder to uncover the main point.
The second C is for cleanly. More often than not a writer can get bogged down with making their point and then adding in fluff. For a novice writer this can be a dangerous method. If you’re not used to writing and playing with language, trying to do so when learning the basics of writing well can do more harm than good. Sticking to the basics when learning to write with the CC’s is important and will prevent you from getting too far off the writing path.
Remember the CC’s and you’ll be on your way to writing well!