“You either have it or you don’t!” Bullshit.
It’s something people have been saying since I started actually writing. In school, there was a teacher that said exact line about either having it or not. At that age, I couldn’t find any reasons to agree or disagree. All I knew was that I liked to do it, and so I kept doing it. However, I can categorically tell you today that it is definitely not this:
Talent [tal–uh nt], noun.
eg: A writing
Writing is far from a talent. Like in a galaxy far far away type of FAR.
Writing is neither natural, nor magical in nature. The ability to write is the cumulation of the following factors:
1. An endless reading addiction
Before you write, you have to first read. Every. Damned. Thing.
Cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, videogame instruction manuals, computer manuals, labels, newspapers, books, letters, bills, passports (yes!), cards, brochures, bank instructions, contracts and the list goes on and on and on.
Going to a library only helps.
It’s not going to make you a writer. But it WILL make you smart as hell.
You see, the basis of a writing is exposure to a multitude of styles and strong command of the language. The only real way to do that is to get addicted to reading as much as possible. I blame my mother: One day, she was reading Enid Blyton to me in the most interesting manner possible (with character voices and all) and the next, I was reading cereal boxes with the character voices in my head.
2. An exposure to ideas
Just… the weirdest types of ideas come from books.
… and as an avid reader, you’ll read a lot of weird-ass ideas. There are ideas so outlandish, you’ll feel like your mind turned inside out.
If yo like to write, you’ll also notice a whole bunch of ideas swirling in your head on a regular basis. You’ll keep asking questions and make inferences. You will think and think and think. As a result, you cannot fucking sleep at night.
3. A lot of practice
While you read all the weird ideas (and nutritional labels) into your head, you will have opportunity to write. In school, there’ll be compositions. Sometimes, you’ll write your diary. Other times, you’ll get to make an extra 90 cents ghost-writing someone else’s compositions. You’ll also join competitions and write your own pieces for fun. Heck, you might even grow up and start a blog. You’ll think you’re not bad, because you score quite well and people seem to enjoy your pieces.
But the truth is, you know your writing isn’t all that fantastic. You’ll want to practice, and take every opportunity to do so on a regular basis.
Writing isn’t natural, it’s not easy and it takes years of practice to even come close to writing something that’s legible to the world. If you’re a business hiring writers, remember to pay them their dues. If you live, work or play with a person who writes: give honest feedback. Finally, if you’re a writer in any way or form…
That’s it for now… until next time, remember to keep seeking!