Monday, August 8, 2011

So you think you can write?

Since my last post led down some depressing paths, I'm determined to make this next one lighter...sunnier.  Like last time, a confluence of ideas has merged for me into today's overriding message.

Here's a hint from Disney's Ratatouille: (Insert scene in which "everyone can cook!")

So last week, I read this blog post by Kristen Lamb last week asking "Are We Born to Create?", in which she mused about whether some people are born writers, and here was part of my comment on that post:
Hmm…I actually think everyone has stories in them that they could write. Whether they do or not might be a matter of encouragement or motivation. And some people might have more innate talent at putting words together, but people with the committed drive to write can learn to do it well.
Here is what I tell my First-Year English Composition students:
Everyone can be a good writer.

Not everyone can be the next Stephen King or Joan Didion (or whoever you define as a great writer), but everyone in my classrooms has the potential to be a good writer. Some writers may need more than a semester to get there, but they can. I've had the honor of working with several students who just needed encouragement in productive directions in order to see that they were capable of much more than they'd expected. They didn't know that they could write, but they absolutely could. Maybe not A-level writing, but then again, I really am a hardass.

Ths doesn't mean writing is easy. Not a chance in hell. Okay, so some gifted writers may find it easy, but everyone has stories within them. And a not-so-gifted writer who has a burning desire to share their stories has, in my mind, just as much potential for success as a writer for whom words flow like water. Some writers may need to learn some of the tools and tricks and tips that come naturally to others. They don't all follow the same path or fit into the same timeframe, but there's nothing innate that says one person "is a writer" while another isn't.'s message is nothing new, but it sometimes needs to be heard anew.

Anyone can write.

It may take writing and rewriting and workshopping and practice. It may take years.

But anyone can write.

(Is that as comforting to you as it is to me?)


  1. It *is* hopeful, Precie! It helps me, at any rate, when I feel like a single drop in an ocean of writers. Just have to keep plugging away at my edits...
    You don't have a follow button - on purpose?

  2. Deniz! Hi! The Follow button must have gotten lost in my blog move. :) Fixed now! Thanks. And I added a Twitter follow button. Much better.

    Hope all is well! Thanks for visiting.

  3. Precie, this is a great post and a message that we all can stand to hear now and then. So thank you!

  4. I agree! I think writing is like a craft, and it takes whittling and editing to make it a piece of beauty to read. It take other people to read so you can ensure your concept was communicated. Like anything worth anything, it takes practice and hard work to get it there. :-)

  5. "Anyone can write." It is with this hope and prayer that I slog everyday, and try to improve, read, and learn.

  6. Jaz--Thanks! Yes, I keep reminding myself.

    Cat--Yes, ANYTHING worth anything takes hard work and commitment. This puts me in mind of a future post about how writing is like being married. :)

    Damyanti--And you are doing an excellent job in that slog! Yay for your new Smashwords anthology!