Riddle: What Does Every Writer Need to Succeed?


It’s not a pen because you could use a pencil or a computer.

It’s not a medium on which to write because the writing could simply exist in a bard’s mind.

It’s not a brain because that doesn’t distinguish a writer from any other art form.

It’s not lucky underwear because this job is clothing-optional.

It’s not a dictionary or thesaurus; although these come in handy, they aren’t always needed.

It’s not an audience because it is possible to define a new genre and gather a new audience.

It’s not money, as a writer can start out empty-handed and become successful.

It’s not writing instruction; while it does help to be well-versed, it is possible to become fluent through avid reading, for example.

It’s not praise, since although most writers would like it, the road to success is often paved with much criticism.

It’s not criticism because it’s already spurious and not everyone benefits from it.

It’s not an agent or great connection, which may help, as some writers have succeeded without this.

It’s not research, though it can be a big asset, since it can be compensated or trumped by a huge imagination.

It’s not imagination because many writers succeed with small changes to what’s already out there.

It’s not a pet squirrel, yet it’s highly recommended.

It’s simpler than all that, and everyone can have it. It’s passion.

Writing without passion. Is it worth reading? Was it worth writing?

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

14 comments on “Riddle: What Does Every Writer Need to Succeed?

      • I once saw a math word problem written by a computer. It said that Bob spelled his name 550 times. Then it gave a percentage (like 62 percent of the time) as the number of times he spelled it correctly and asked how many times he got it right.

        How many times can bob spell his name wrong? It only has three letters and two of them are the same!

        I imagine reading a book written by a computer would be a lot like that. Technically it would make sense, but it would still leave you scratching your head.

      • That’s cool. A fellow student once did a research project based on a monkey typing three three letters at a time on a keyboard, with the question of what frequency would be words form the English language.

        The computer’s writing ability would be largely limited by the limitations of the programmer and its opportunity to gain language experience and human understanding. Great topic for sci-fi readers, at least.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s