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.