10 Reasons Writers are Leaders

Kimberly Shyu
3 min readMay 26, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writers. How much I love them. How they are brilliant. How they can make you laugh and cry all at once over characters who, in many cases, are entirely fictitious. How they can touch millions of people, starting movements or influencing culture. How they can find new ways to tell the oldest stories. How they can make the invisible visible.

Making the invisible visible

I’ve tried to decide whether it’s fair to call myself one. After all, I haven’t published a book yet. That’s just my imposter syndrome taking over… I’m a writer, damnit. I string words together on paper. I plot. I construct. I research. I create. I weave underlying themes. I endeavor to make the world better.

But this is proof of something else I’ve realized: writers are often introverted and perhaps, in some cases, even insecure. Maybe it’s just the perfectionism in us. Maybe it’s the fear of being judged.

But writers should feel powerful, because they are leaders.

Yes, just like the executive teams of the world’s largest companies, writers are leaders, and here’s why:

  1. Writers aren’t afraid to put themselves and their ideas out there for comment. They start debates. They stand up for what they believe. They inspire others to think deeply and question everything.
  2. Writers find a way to make the ordinary extraordinary. They can take a lightbulb and describe it to you in a million different ways, in a million different settings, with characters and plots they construct entirely from thin air. Executives do this regularly, spinning the same story for different audiences.
  3. They find joy and inspiration in the smallest things, like smelling wildflowers or papers scattering in the wind. Even a cringe-worthy moment can spark an idea to help them connect with their audiences.
  4. Writers, like executives, are tenacious. They’re not deterred by a ‘no.’ While they might get turned down on a hundred submissions, they know it only takes one agent to say ‘yes.’ They create opportunity.
  5. They know how to eliminate fillers (Um, that… right?). Fillers are often used to hold the floor in a conversation; they show you have something more to say. But writers, like executives, are highly trained, just in a different presentation medium. Every word matters.
  6. They know the importance of selling an idea. If you write a gem and no one reads it…
  7. Most writers want to get better. They seek feedback. They’re continually learning by reading, writing, rewriting, and editing. They know their work can always improve.
  8. Many writers value the team it takes to execute an idea to its fullest extent. From friends and family, to like-minded peers, to agents and publishing houses, or even braving self-publishing… writers know it takes support from others to succeed.
  9. Writers are entrepreneurial. They aren’t afraid of the unknown. A blank page is a playground.
  10. They’re self-governing, proactive, independent, and driven. They find balance in their lives by planning their time and learning when they do their best work. Just like executives, writers value productivity, and they enjoy the process just as much as the end result.

Keep leading, writers.

#NoRegrets

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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Kimberly Shyu

Deep Tech Product Leader, creative writer, and published artist. Writes about personal growth, leadership, writing, and product development. www.kimshyu.com.