Musings on Being a Writer
All you need to be a writer is a passion for writing and, of course, to actually write.
Many people assume that in order to be a writer, you have to be published, However, I feel that is not true. You can be a chess player and not have competed against Gary Kasparov or Bobby Fischer; be a golfer and never won championships like Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, be an artist and never shown in a gallery, be a runner without competing in the London or New York City marathon. And, you can be a writer without being published.
I believe that doing things you love is driven by the desire, even need, to do it. You write, read, draw, golf, run or whatever you do, because it enriches your life, calms the soul, inspires the spirit. You don't need recognition to make the work fulfilling. Many actually do these activities to retreat within, be introspective and find inner quiet.
Some writers, such as myself, do find paid short or long-term projects, work writing and editing for companies. It's not always (read: "it's usually not") glamorous or well-paying, but I see it as a bonus for doing something that I love. I would probably be doing it anyway, so why not get paid for it?
Even without the possibility of being paid by an outside source, there are writers who do want to be published. That's how they define their writing project, or that is very simply, their goal. These days, with self publishing options galore, being published is not difficult. To publish your work for the general public, there are standards that should be met. Above all, it should be going through an editor who can fix grammatical issues and typos. Books riddled with formatting issues and typos really test readers' patience with the book and affect your credibility if you want to publish future works.
That being said, not everyone should be self-publishing their writing for the general public. Sometimes the family history and personal stories with private jokes that only your friends or children and grandchildren will understand are not really meant for others. Personal essays or anecdotes with a very specific audience, such as crafting or folklore might be better suited for online magazines. Or you might want them self-published and distributed/sold privately to your family and friends as a collection of essays, stories and anecdotes, for example. These titles can even be formatted with photos, layouts that defy standard publishing rules to further appeal to your specific circle of readers and buyers.
But, for those who simply love to write, don't feel pressured to "write a book" or publish and appear on the New York Times Bestseller List to make what you do meaningful. If you have a passion for writing, that IS meaningful and significant.
Titles that have encouraged me on my journey as a writer include:
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
Seeing and Writing by Walker Gibson
Fearless Creativity by Eric Maisel, Ph.D
If you love to write, just keep writing.