Sounds elitist doesn’t it? It almost sounds as though I’m saying that people that want to write but don’t have the natural skill or the natural inclination have no chance, right? That’s not it at all.
People can write if they want. They can pick it up as a habit, as a hobby, or they can make a career out of it. But if they aren’t passionate about writing, if they aren’t hearing voices in their head telling them what to write or waking them up at all hours of the night about one idea or another then there’s a good chance that they’ll be mediocre the rest of their lives. Some people will still take that and roll with it, thinking that they’ve got a good enough thing going, and that’s great.
But just as anyone with real talent will tell you, they didn’t choose the game, the game chose them. There’s a calling we all answer to, some hear it loud and clear, others have to take a while to tune in until they’re finally ready to listen, and then others don’t ever hear because they’re pointing in the wrong direction, AWAY from their true calling. If they’re lucky those people will find it eventually when they turn their way of thinking around, but writers tend to be turning in various directions at all times as we’re taking in the world around us in order to describe it on the page, to find the right story that fits our needs at that moment.
Writers weren’t born completely sane and it shows sometimes as the stories we tell tend to pour out of us as from a cup that’s over-filled. Our cup runneth over so to speak, and that’s when we use what we’ve been given or lose it. How many writers do you think lose numerous ideas per day by doing something else? How many stories are left by the wayside because we didn’t pluck them up when we had the chance?
Writers aren’t made by hard years of study, or by textbooks detailing how the craft is supposed to work. We’re made the innate talent that is given to us upon birth, that need to put down our experiences and the visions we see in our heads so that others can partake of the imagination that fuels our every waking thought. We’re here to continue the story of the human race through myth, legend, and historical fact that paints our kind in a light that changes hue, direction, and intensity with every passing year.
We’re the chroniclers of humanity, and studying to do what we do just isn’t enough. If you don’t feel the writing, if you aren’t compelled to tell the story, then the chances are that you might be a mediocre writer for the rest of your career.
It’s not elitism, it’s simple truth. Love the writing, hate the writing, embrace the madness and the chaos while seeking order, and you might succeed. Try to learn how to write from a textbook and you’ll write more textbooks.