The only people writing should be those who must write, I scrawl in a notebook as I sit on the side of the running bath while my young son makes duck noises at me.
There is no shortage of people There is no shortage of people who can, with a little encouragement, write. There are lots of skilled craftspeople. Even more say they want to write, and many of those find their way into university courses, adult education or privately run seminars on the novel, genre, short story and importance of plot. Some can write like angels from the outset, others can't write at all, as I've heard for myself in classes I've attended.
This multiplicity of courses promises a way forward, a way into print, possibly even that chimera, a writing career. But desire and training don't equal genius or that je ne sais quoi that allows a writer to connect, to slip refractive glasses over a reader's eyes, to say, "see this". They don't give the writer something to say that can be said in no other way.
What they do is provide toolboxes, and with those toolboxes the vaguely talented often turn out the equivalent of high school carpentry projects: a procession of by-the-numbers breakfast trays and carved wooden animals.
Yow. That sounds a little harsh. But while I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that someone "shouldn't" be writing, I don't understand why anyone who's not driven to write would want to. Writing will tear your heart out, and that'll happen even before you start collecting rejection letters from editors and agents. No matter how long and hard you work, you'll never achieve complete satisfaction. You'll always wish you had more talent or more education or more insight (or, if you're like me, all three). And you'll read opinion pieces by "real" writers (read: better writers than you) and wonder if they're talking about you when they make cracks about paint-by-numbers novels.
Especially on a Monday morning when you're facing a busy day on only four hours' worth of sleep.
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