I meet a lot of people, a depressing amount of people, who could be writers. They have the innate understanding of a compelling construction, and possess a creative drive and an imagination beyond normal.
But, as other writers immortalized, “writers are people who write,” and these people I meet often don’t write beyond random ineffective bouts of literary flailing. And it hurts me: this loss of potential. I see the spark unused. I had that same spark, and someone else recognized it and got me going—and I wish I could do that for these people. Be a mentor or a colleague. Get the energy flowing.
But, as they move in the right direction—if they even make it past the fear of beginning—they stumble onto bad habits. Brutally bad habits. And no matter how much advice I give, how much time devoted to helping them, if they do not unlearn these habits, they won’t earn the title of serious writer. Continue reading