Why I Encourage All Writers

JordanA Writer's Guide to Persistence, Craft9 Comments

I’ve been called “the writer’s cheerleader,” and not always as a compliment.

I’ve received critical comments on blog posts saying: “Don’t encourage bad writers to keep at it,” or “Hey, you’re either born with talent or you aren’t,” or “There are already enough writers out there, we don’t need more.”

I take issue with all of those statements, not only because they’re based on foolish or selfish premises, but comments of that nature presuppose that everyone writers for the same reason or goal, and has had the same general level of education, opportunity or experience.

Sometimes writing is the only voice a person has.

Sometimes writing is a form of self-healing–important on its own, which can lead to a teaching that helps others, too.

Writing saves people’s lives by pushing outward those psychic and emotional forces that often get stuck inward, where they corrode and rot.

What I’ve experienced in my own writing practice, and my work as a developmental editor and writing teacher, is that the practice of writing often leads to insight, compassion, understanding, new ideas, surprising skills a writer didn’t know she already had, and so much more.  That’s not even to mention the power of writing to connect people, to heal pain, and to ease your brain waves into deeper states of relaxation. What’s more, writing is a craft at which people who apply themselves improve.

Self-betterment is a highly American idea; you’d think more people would champion it.

If a reader does not enjoy a particular piece of reading then, with a few exceptions, the reader is not obligated to keep reading.

I will continue to cheerlead all writers at all levels, in the craft and the practice of writing, without concern for the myth of talent, because it is one of the most transformative, freeing, powerful media available to almost anyone, a medium that can affect change, internally and externally.

I don’t believe it’s anyone’s right to stop a writer who feels called to write.

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JordanWhy I Encourage All Writers

9 Comments on “Why I Encourage All Writers”

  1. Renee Cassese

    Great way to put it Jordan. Everyone has the right to write. Even books I don’t care for have the right to their nook in the bookstore and the author has the right to speak his mind and tell her story be it truth or fiction.

  2. Andrea van der Wilt

    Well-said 🙂 There’s enough negativity in the world, and there are plenty of people who like to tell others what (not) to do. People who inspire me are those who offer ideas, not “rules”.

    I’ve noticed that people think that if you don’t write like [brilliant author of choice], it’s not worth it. I started playing the violin when I was 25 because I fell in love with the instrument after trying it out, but there were quite a few people who thought I was wasting my time because I would never play as well as [brilliant violinist of choice]. But who cares? Music has always been my passion and after a few years of practising every day for a few hours I joined an amateur baroque ensemble and had a great time. I bet I even had a much better time than all those people who said I was wasting my time.

    The truly creative people I’ve met in my life have all been very encouraging because they understand that creativity is a way of seeing the world, a way of life, and it doesn’t depend on any kind of success. Without art my life would be a lot less interesting, if not empty. I’d never ever listen to anyone who told me to stop writing. Especially because there’s so much a writer can learn. What is “bad writing” or “good writing”? Even professionals don’t agree there.

    1. Jordan

      Andrea, yes! Passion is so much more important than we give it credit for. I think we often forget that we can’t take all this material stuff with us…better to fill our internal wells.

  3. Michelle

    Thank you for posting this. I recently did a post on my blog about why the notion of you-have-to-be-born-with it is wrong and self-defeating, and was surprised to get some really negative comments in response to it. I think it’s so important for us to be supportive rather than destructive, especially when solid research shows that training and practice are so important to success. 🙂

    1. Jordan

      Yes, I think that people who feel competitive with others tend to take that negative tone. There’s room for everyone, and those who work hard always succeed.

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