Can you become a skilled writer? Yes — and here’s my story to prove it

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I was recently catching up with a mentor of mine the other day.

He was my boss right out of college. I will never forget the first time I walked into that loft-style digital marketing agency, wearing a collared shirt, peeking my head in and saying, “I’m here for an interview?”


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My soon-to-be mentor and the head Copywriter, an older Indian guy, walked me into the back office — a room with creative advertising campaign ideas and awards hung up on the walls, with carpeting that was bright green like freshly cut grass. Where awards weren’t hung, the rest of the walls were painted with “Idea Paint,” with cups of dry erase markers everywhere within reach.

The interview lasted ten minutes. Maybe fifteen.

“We can’t hire this kid,” the Indian guy said, right after I’d walked out the door to head home. “He doesn’t have a portfolio. He doesn’t have any experience in advertising.”

Telling me the story years later, my mentor said that nobody wanted to hire me. And if I’m being perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have hired me. But my mentor saw something in me I hadn’t even recognized fully in myself.

I was hungry to learn — and I had a desire to be great.

Over the past several years, I’ve achieved just about every writing-related goal I’ve set for myself.

I’ve had dozens of articles go viral, accumulating millions of views.

I’ve been invited to speak on massive podcasts and at major conferences about writing online.

I’ve seen my work in TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, Inc Magazine, CNBC, The Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other major publications.

I’ve published a book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, and was able to do so independently and on my own terms.

I’ve published a variety of eBooks and built an audience of over 100,000 followers across Quora, Medium, and Instagram.

I’ve connected with some of my favorite (and most successful) writers — in a wide variety of industries.

I’ve ghostwritten for 100+ founders, CEOs, and industry experts.

I’ve founded a content marketing & executive positioning agency, called Digital Press, and grown it to 20+ employees in less than a year (alongside my co-founder Drew Reggie — who is 50% of the reason why we’ve succeeded).

But most of all, I’ve turned the thing I love most in the world, writing, into more than just a career. This craft has become my lifestyle, and allowed me to do all the things that truly make me happy.

If you ever doubt your own ability to become a skilled, successful writer (or skilled, successful anything), just remember:

there was a point in time when I wasn’t very skilled either.

This article first appeared on TheAcscent.pub