Since I don’t really write anywhere near as much fiction as I used to (although I did write an interactive horror/comedy story for Halloween), it’s easy for me to see myself as a “failed writer”. Although I’ll probably end up getting back into writing fiction more extensively at some point in the future, I’m currently pretty much a failed writer. Even so, this isn’t an entirely bad thing.
So, if you’re a failed writer too, you might recognise a couple of these cool advantages that you get from being a failed writer, compared to someone who has never even tried to write fiction.
1) Fast typing/ writing: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but one of the best ways to learn how to type quickly is sheer repetitive practice. And, well, if you’ve written a fair number of short stories, or even something a bit longer, using a computer then this is the perfect way to get this regular typing practice.
Likewise, if you prefer to write by hand, then writing hundreds of words of fiction on a regular basis is a great way to learn how to write faster (albeit somewhat less legibly).
2) Imagination: Again, this is fairly self-explanatory but, if you were ever drawn to writing fiction, then you probably have a very interesting imagination. Having the experience of expressing your imagination can be a pretty great thing but, even if you decide that writing fiction isn’t for you, then you’ll probably still want to experience this feeling again through some other creative medium (in my case, this medium is art and, sometimes, comics).
In short, even being a failed writer gets you used to the idea of creating things, expressing your own imagination and – most importantly – actually exploring your own imagination. When you start doing this, it isn’t really something that you’ll want to stop doing, even if you’re no longer interested in writing.
3) Getting used to writing long things: One of the most useful things about having past writing experience is that it makes you feel a lot less intimidated by words. In other words, if you have to write something slightly longer then it won’t seem like as much of a gargantuan task if you’ve had the experience of writing numerous short stories or the occasional novella or novel.
It also changes how you see words too. To someone with writing experience, 500-2000 words seems like a relatively small amount – just enough for a short story or a non-fiction piece.
Whereas, for someone with relatively little fiction writing experience, it would probably seem like a much larger or smaller quantity of words (presumably based on the word limits for the essays you had to write at school, college and/or university).
4) Linguistic skills: When you try to learn how to write fiction, you learn a lot of “rules” that can also be useful in any other writing-related things you do after you’ve become a failed writer.
For example, you’ve probably learnt how to avoid using repetitive sentence openings, you’ve learnt how to describe things in interesting ways and you’ve learnt how to structure stories. I’m sure you get the idea.
Well, all of these linguistic skills don’t suddenly disappear when you stop being a writer. Whether you use these skills in verbal conversation, e-mails, public speaking or even non-fiction writing, having a background in writing fiction allows you to communicate in a slightly more interesting way.
5) A better understanding of fiction: The most important thing that having writing experience gives you is a better understanding of how stories work. It’s why, for example, I can still write about writing a lot on this blog, despite being very out of practice.
It’s why I can still learn even more about storytelling from something as simple as watching a TV show or playing a computer game. Because I’ve told stories before, I can see how other people tell interesting stories.
When you’ve written a few stories yourself, you’ll have a much better understanding of stories (and storytelling in general) than you would do if you’d never even attempted to be a writer. This is also perhaps where the old saying that “every critic is a failed writer” comes from.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂