Becoming a famous writer is a golden dream for many people. However, a lot of them are afraid of even trying because they believe they don’t have what it takes – specialized education, sophistication, knowledge of literary theory, you name it. But what will we discover if we take a look at who actually becomes a writer?
The most amusing fact here is probably that the worst possible first step you can take in this direction is enrolling in any kind of literature college – amount of writers who have made a name of themselves after getting a formal literary education is negligible, and those who managed to do generally tend to be middling writers at best.
For some mysterious reasons a disproportionate amount of famous writers come from medical background – although ‘come’ isn’t usually a correct word, because most of them tend to go on practicing medicine for the entirety of their lives, considering literary exploits as a hobby or a secondary, less important activity. Here we have the names of such giants as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekhov, John Keats, Michael Crichton, Stanislaw Lem and innumerable others.
It is hard to say why physicians are so inclined to literary activities, but perhaps it has something to do with being obliged to be in contact with human suffering and everyday drama of people’s lives that give them unique insights into the state of human condition.
Another walk of life that seems to be creating numerous writers is law – probably due to the same reasons. One would think that they should be inclined to writing mystery or true crime stories, but it is not always true – in general they have as broad sets of themes as any other group of authors. John Grisham, Erle Stanley Gardner, Franz Kafka, Henry Fielding, Washington Irving, Thomas More are here, to name just a few.
However, these examples serve only to show that no matter what his or her vocation is, any person may become a writer – provided he or she has something valuable to say. Important thing about being a writer is not your style, or grasp of words and literary theory – although these won’t hurt as well – but whether you have anything unique or at least interesting to say. A well-known South African writer Wilbur Smith is a tax accountant by training – probably the least exciting and interesting walk of life imaginable – yet he found something in his experience and knowledge that would attract the attention of readers – his life in South Africa and knowledge of its history.
It doesn’t really matter much what your job and education are – if you have something to say, people will read it and react to it and won’t be bothered by split infinitives and incorrect composition. And vice versa, you may learn all the literary theory in the world, but if you don’t have anything new to say, nobody will be interested in your writing – no matter how perfectly organized it is.