Are you a natural born author?

Novelist Emma Bowd

Novelist Emma Bowd

Is an author born or made? It’s a big question. Over to guest blogger Emma Bowd, author of The Shoe Princess’s Guide to the Galaxy, who explains what can (and can’t) be taught. Going by what she says below, do you think you have the personality traits of an author?

I honestly believe you are born to be an author. It is within you and not made. The feedback I consistently got from readers (editors paid to critique your work) during early drafts of The Shoe Princess’s Guide was that I had a distinctive authorial voice and that this cannot be taught, while other technical things, like characters and plotting, can be.

Personality characteristics which I think help you to be an author are: discipline; ability to seek and accept feedback and be open to having your work critiqued; self-belief; persistence; flexibility; intuition; imagination; and organisation.

I wholeheartedly believe you can be a good writer and not get published.

If you want to get published, don’t sit in an ivory tower with your ‘writing’. You need to cold call agents, editors, publishers and make your own opportunities. No one will come knocking on your door asking to see your manuscript. Of that, I am certain!

Very best, Emma



Filed under Authors and Books, Getting Published

7 responses to “Are you a natural born author?

  1. Pingback: ONE Star Galaxy «

  2. paullamb

    I’ve always thought that creative writing can’t be taught, but it can be learned. The onus is on the writer to learn and practice the craft.

    I think Mark Twain said something similar about great writers not getting published. But in contrast, I think there are plenty of poor writers who do get published.

  3. Emma Bowd

    I completely agree re practice. As with much in life, practice makes perfect. And creative writing is no exception.

    I guess my belief is that you have to have the ‘author’ bit ‘within you’ (ie a slight touch of insanity) to happily (with no one holding a stick over you) spend hundreds of hours writing and re-writing to perfect your craft – normally, for the first-time novelist, in the wee hours of the night while also holding down at least one other job to pay the bills!

  4. I think writing is a talent, very similar to painting or drawing. It may need some nurturing, but it’s already there.

  5. chris o'hara

    message to emma bowd,

    got to agree my darling, work 7 days a week 12 hours a day. nearly 3 years of sitting by my patio doors a 3 in the morning knowing i should go to bed but too carried away to even think about stopping. when finally in bed write the next chapter in my head before finally falling asleep.

    we must be mad

  6. Emma Bowd

    Chris…I’ve nutted out many a plotting issue in my head as I fall asleep…and ALWAYS keep a notebook by my bed!
    Yours in madness

  7. Muriel Spark has one character say in her last novel: “You must just write, When you set the scene”. “You begin by setting the scene. You have to see your scene, either in reality or in imagination”.
    I, too, always keep a notebook by my bed!