Unqualified

Today, I’d like to talk about how I’m unqualified to be a writer.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:
What?” 
“Why are you being so hard on yourself?” 
“C’mon, who says you’re not qualified?”.

While I appreciate both your confusion and your compliments, let me tell you something: I’ve never been qualified. To be honest, none of us are. 

Hold on! Before you click off this post, thinking that today’s going to be nice long tear-down session, give me just a moment, my friends. I swear I'm a nice person, y'all. All will be explained in due time. 

See, I’ve been writing most of my life. I wasn't born with a pencil in hand, but I picked one up as soon as my little baby fingers gained the ability. Even before I was able to write, I would just verbally tell my stories to people. We've got an awesome video of me half-talking and half-singing as I retold a thrilling tale about a frog. Storytelling has always been a massive part of my life, and it probably always will be. That's just how God made me.

Yet, the thing is, I’ve never exactly done anything to at all qualify me to write. I’ve never published anything, haven’t even finished a full novel (Yet), and to be honest, this is the first blog post I’ve ever written in my life. The title "writer" is only valid for me because I regularly pick up a pencil or sit down at my laptop and write, not because I've ever done anything to make me a writer. No one has ever given me the title. At least, not anyone who has any qualification or experience to do so, like an editor or publisher. I could probably list another dozen reasons why I'm not qualified to write, because there are just so many. In fact, I may be more qualified not to write. 

But that’s okay.

See, I know I’m not qualified, but I don’t need to be. None of us do. Qualification is not what makes a good writer. A good writer writes because they can. Or, even more so, because they can’t stop. There is no test, no person to tell us whether or not we’re a good writer. Everyone is different. Even if you’ve been turned down, time after time by publishers, even if you feel like you will never make it as an author, even if some days, you just want to throw it all away, you’re still a writer.
I may not be a great writer. I may not even be a good writer. And that’s okay. I know that there are better, faster, and more skilled writers out there. There always have been, and there will be. But so long as I keep writing, keep chasing my passion, keep following my dreams, even if it takes me weeks, months, or years to finish, I am still a writer.

If someone else is telling you that you’ve got to be qualified, then don’t listen. They aren’t you, and because they aren’t you they can’t tell you how to write. If they’re telling you you’re too young, or too old, or not smart enough, or not good enough, don’t listen! J.K. Rowling got turned away from a number of publishing companies before someone finally published her books. Walt Disney got fired from a newspaper company because he “had no imagination”. As for me, as far as society is concerned, you’re supposed to go to public school and graduate at eighteen. I did neither. If someone’s telling you can’t write, prove them wrong. Don’t let them stop you from writing.

Writing is more than something we do. It’s part of us, part of our identity. We were born with the gift to see the world as an opportunity, where every person, every memory, every sight, smell, sound, and taste holds a thousand stories. We’ve been called to write those stories, to bring them to life in a way that no one else can. Anyone can scribble down a nonsensical plot, but only writers have the ability to bring their stories, their inky worlds, to life. It is a gift, and you don’t throw away gifts, my friends.

And if you’re the one who’s telling yourself you aren’t qualified and that you need to be, let me assure that there is no need for qualification. Publishers don’t look for a shiny stamp that says “I’m a qualified writer”. And you especially don’t need qualification if you’re writing for the Lord. God has never used qualified people. In fact, He purposely chooses those who are unqualified, because the unqualified bring His kingdom glory.
And if God can take some fishermen and turn them into the foundation of the church, or turn a shepherd into a king, I think He’s more than capable of taking someone like you or me and turning them into a writer.


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About the Author:

Arella Noreen is an Intern of Elysian, and thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of writers. When she's not writing, you can often find her curled up with a book and her bird, or possibly studying for her next college exam. At fifteen (yes, you read that right), she’s got a lot on her plate, but through it all she always finds time to explore the depths of her creativity and bring the inky worlds at her fingertips to life.  If asked where she’s from, her prompt reply is always to inform the person that she is a “God-made, Jesus-saved, Texan-raised homeschooler, and proud of it.” 

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