What If You're Not a Writer?

August 29, 2014 by Amy Groening


“I have a story that will make you believe in God.”
Yann Martel

We started this blog with the goal of helping our readers become better writers: helping you all to hone your crafts, find your niche, find a community of supporters, and swap stories of encouragement—or frustration—with your fellow writers. And this still is an important goal for us. If you have a story to tell, we want to help you make sure you’re telling it the best way you can.

However, the fact of the matter is not everyone who has a story to tell is a born writer. We’re not all gifted; words don’t come easily to all of us. For some of us, the written language is a bewildering code to be unscrambled, or at the very most a tool to get you from point A to point B, not a beautiful work of art in and of itself.

This does not make your story any less important or worthwhile to share with the world. God chooses the most unlikely of people as his mouthpieces—he had an entire nation led out of slavery by a man who could barely string a sentence together when he spoke in public; a man who needed to use his brother to get the message out.

This is one of the things I love about the current age of self and partner publishing. As printing presses become more efficient and affordable, there are more opportunities for us all to share our stories, and I get to see this every day. Traditional publishing companies are accepting approximately 1% of the manuscripts being submitted to them right now—getting picked up by one of them is about the same as winning the lottery. While winning the lottery can be absolutely fantastic, the rest of us still have stories to tell, even if our manuscripts never make it to the top of the stack in the acquisition editor’s office.

If the rates of acceptance are that low, it’s apparent that even some of the best writers are getting turned away for one reason or another. Those odds can make it sound like there isn’t much value in all the rejected manuscripts, and if you’re not the best writer, it might sound like your story has no value at all. But I’ve lost count of the times a story told in the plainest English has had a profound effect on me. Yes, I’m a self-professed bibliophile—I spent five years of university studying literature, after all and I’ve found that a well-formed sentence can be downright titillating to an avid reader, but it’s not the only thing that is.

Writing a book can be a powerful experience, and I strongly believe we should all give it a try at least once in our lifetimes, whether we’ve spent our entire lives training for this writing project, or haven’t picked up a pen in years but woke up yesterday and realized we had stories in our hearts just screaming to get out.

To be able to share our stories—to be given a voice, a medium, of getting that message out—is to reach out to each other, recognize the humanity in each other, and connect to each other.

Yes, we want to empower you all to be better writers, and as we head into fall we’ll be redoubling our efforts to get you all writing and reading more than you ever have before. But more than anything else, we want to empower you all to share your stories, regardless of your skill levels. You never know what your story could mean to someone else.

About this Contributor

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Small_headshot_amy_groening

Amy Groening is a Project Manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cats committing random acts of feline crime.