“Writing … is the greatest of meritocracies. You can either do it or you can’t, and the evidence soon becomes excruciatingly apparent. No amount of education will give you the gift or drive; you cannot be born into it or bequeathed it. But if it’s there, you’ll chase it until it finds you.”
I’ve always felt my ability to write is a gift – once I learned to read and write I wanted to express my thoughts on paper for others to read.
And I know what it’s liked to be chased by writing. Fortunately I’ve allowed it to find me, more than once. Or in many ways.
I’ve written personal essays, which led to a newspaper column. When I got my first computer the manuals frustrated me so much I sold someone on the idea I could write better ones which put me in tech writing until I couldn’t stand to write ‘press return’ one more time. When I was asked to edit a church magazine because of the questions I asked I said yes, even though I was poorly paid. That led to being asked if I could take over from a ghostwriter who wasn’t getting the job done. Again I said yes even though I hadn’t written anything longer than 2,000 words – tech manuals don’t count that way. The web arrived and after a day with a Dummies book or Idiot’s Guide I realized the web was another publishing platform.
Writing has continued to find me and I’ve continued to say yes even when I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s all learnable. Or it is if you’ve got any innate skill at all in putting words togehter.
I suspect that many, even most, of you reading this blog have been gifted with at least some writing ability. My hunch is you’re pretty articulate when you speak and that you speak mostly correctly.
If anything’s missing it’s noticing that writing is trying to find you and following through on that recognition. It’s taking some risks, and they aren’t big risks really. Nothing life threatening. Sure you may be rejected. So what? Sure it hurts, but if you’re being called to write what does it really matter in the long run? We write because we can and because we must and anything that we let get in the way of that is just avoidable nonsense.
What’s you’re response to this quote and mini-rant of mine?
BTW, you can follow Ruth on Twitter at: @WriterRuth She knows her stuff.