My History and Philosophy
I suppose it has always been God's will that I should be a writer. It is something I have always enjoyed doing, and it gave me purpose many times in my life. In fact, my name, Devin, is Irish Gaelic for poet. So there.
I remember how my first book that I wrote at the tender age of 7, "The Lovely Kittens," is a lighthearted tale of a Mother Cat, Father Cat, three boy kittens, and three girl kittens. The story basically described their regular lives, going to school, eating dinner, going to church, visiting Grandma Cat, and being tucked in at night.
I continued writing small books that I would bind myself, though in my later childhood, early teenage, years, my books reflected the sad realities of the real world. For instance, there is a story about how the French invaded India, enslaved the people, and treated them cruelly, only for the Italians to declare war on France and provided weapons to the Indians. There was also a story about a woman who had a very hard life, from growing up poor, to her husband dying, to finally being murdered by an angry mob. (I don't know where that came from!) There was a story about how shipwrecked Europeans "discover" an exotic island and are welcomed by the natives. The Europeans decided to settle on this island, and many more Europeans came to settle, bringing their customs and traditions with them. Soon, the Europeans outnumbered the easygoing natives and tried to boss them around. When the natives had enough, they declared war on the Europeans. Eventually, the Europeans won the war and forced the natives to leave the island on ships. Hence, my interest in history eventually intertwined with my interest in writing.
There are many who have the desire to write but never really try it because they have no training. I have gone to a few workshops on writing, and I have studied the designs of many writers. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that to not write because you do not have training or education in the area is wasted talent. Never, and I mean NEVER, allow someone to put a price tag on your gift. Never allow anyone to put a lock on your talent by telling you that you need a specific degree in order to write and share your work. Finally, never confine yourself to a box--a specific format. A format is not a law, and if it is, it is a law that is meant to be broken. If everyone followed a format set by an elitist or a one sided scholar, there would be no jazz. There would be no prose, satire, Rock 'n' Roll, or even "Rondo alla Turca" or "For Elise." Non-Western music would be anathema. And Picasso? He would be institutionalized.
To be a good writer, you must first have the desire, and then the dedication. You must know your target audience and what they care about. And finally, you must use your heart--with every sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter. USE YOUR HEART. A good start is by reading the works of those you enjoy and admire. Study their word choice, as well as their introduction and character development. Never set yourself above any other writer; your fellow writer could possibly become an oasis of inspiration in the midst of the dry spells all writers get. Yes, even the best writers get dry spells. In fact, 99% of all writers experience them periodically (and the other 1% is lying to themselves.
If you still are not certain if there is a writer inside of you, read "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke. Spoiler alert: the climax of this book is a single sentence: "If the first thing you think about in the morning is writing, then you're a writer. " Think about that. If I have helped anyone in any way, please send me any email and let me know!