“Do I Need Fancy Pens to be a Real Writer?” No.

"Do I Need Fancy Pens to be a Real Writer?" No.I hate to say it, but the writing business is full of snake oil salesmen. As an aspiring author, you’re marketed a variety of tools, apps, stuff all designed to ‘make you a real writer.’ When I first saw these ads, I had to honestly ask myself: “Do I Need Fancy Pens to be a Real Writer?” Happily, the answer is No.

Make no mistake: Writing is a skill the same as working on cars, playing basketball or the piano. The common myth with writing, or any other new skill, is that it takes a lot of expensive stuff to make it work. That’s not true, and thanks to this Reddit post, we have a simple explanation as to why:

I’d like to preface this by saying this is an observation, not an attack, just the human condition we are all subject to:

It’s much easier to buy things for a new hobby than it is to actually engage with skill building. Humans are highly likely to research and collect all the knowledge and parts of a hobby without ever actually participating in the hobby. It’s so common at this point I feel like the phenomenon should be given a name.

On the surface it seems healthy: learn about hobby before doing it, and it’s easy to believe that having high quality devices/products will make hobby easier to learn, make you want to learn (you spent all that money) or make you feel like part of a community. But in reality it’s just a way to avoid putting in the work… Work which often results in struggle and failure (a natural progression of improvement) which is why we would rather buy all the things, read all the expert advice, and then only barely scratch the surface of becoming adept at hobby.

It’s so easy to get caught in this cycle of reading and buying and never actually skill-building. It’s tragic. We do it to protect our ego, and the ego is a real baby about stuff like “not being immediately amazing at a new skill”.

Don’t let your ego trick you into this. Do the work with the gear that you have (unless you’re like… Sky diving or something… Please don’t skimp on protective gear. Like, ever) and as you improve you can “earn” new gear.

You can read the rest of the discussion at your covenience. The point I want to leave you with is, let yourself off the hook. You can’t afford expensive tools? No problem, neither can I. We’re all doing this for as cheap as we can. Often, there are ultra-cheap/free ways to get where you need to go. Don’t be afraid to be stingy.

Art is one of those rare places where talent, not money, still unlocks the door. It may be harder for you, but when you win, no one can take your victories away. All the struggle and work will become part of the journey.