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We’ve all heard it. Three words: anyone can write. We tell our children it, countless books have been written on the subject and there are more sites dedicated to the teaching of writing than grains of sand on the beach (probably). But seriously, I have one thing to say. Not everyone can write. And that is not because I under the illusion that writers are given a divine gift from a writing God and each of us deserve a dedicated shrine. It’s much simpler than that…

(Disclaimer here, for all you pedantic people retorting ‘anyone can write, you just hold a pen blah blah’ I am talking here about good writing, writing which fits the purpose and is interesting and fresh.) I firmly believe that if you sat and read every book on grammar, writing for a particular audience, and structuring engaging copy, that you would have all the tools you needed to be a good writer. But that doesn’t mean that anyone can write, because writing is much more than that…

Writing is being bothered to put that idea down you have in your head, having the idea in the first place, structuring it so your piece does what it should do. You need motivation, ideas, tools. You can have an idea but not have the time to put it down, so you’re not writing. You can have the time but a mind devoid of anything original, so you’re not writing. Or you could have a fully formed novel or article in your head whizzing around at a hundred miles an hour, but without a pen or a laptop, you’re not writing, you’re thinking. It is so easy to be a writer in your head, but that kind of writer is not doing the one thing a writer should do!

All I ask, is next time someone says ‘anyone can write’, question them further. Can they? Then why isn’t everyone? Why doesn’t everyone have a bestseller to their name, or long list of articles or poetry they’ve created over the years? Because, though everyone might have the potential to, everyone can’t.

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One thought on “Anyone can write – right?

  1. Pingback: Blogging and writing – what’s the difference? | zoë ashton

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