If There Was a Pill We’d All Be Shakespeare
I was reading this article titled “How to Be a Writer.” What struck me the most about the post was not the advice–all writers are different so it may work or not work depending on what sort of writer you are–but who asked for the advice. The daughter wanted to be a writer, but it was the mother who was querying for writing tips. Does anyone besides me see something that is wrong with this picture?
Cranky old people probably claim that kids these days have no motivation to do anything let alone have any urge to pursue dreams other than an all-day video gaming marathon. Maybe they’re right. But you’re not going to solve the problem by having the parents do all the work for their children. What sort of life is it, anyway, if you grow up coddled with no obstacles to bar your way, no failures to toughen your skin, no stress or unhappiness to avoid even a modicum of psychological discomfort?
Maybe other people are fine with the thought that they are molding the next generation into happy, ultra-successful eloi with no cares in the world. That actually kind of disturbs me. What kind of society will it be if everyone caves into the smallest pressure and lacks the resilience to bounce back? What if no one ever indulges in personal curiosities or intellectual pursuits without a guiding hand and fawning cheering squad? Won’t this produce a class of people who fail to empathize with others who didn’t have the same privileged upbringing that they had?
I guess the thing I object to the most in this particular instance is the mother thinking that the author of that post has some kind of magic pill to make her daughter into a famous writer. But like everything else in life, if you want to be very good at anything, you need to work for it. Nothing is free. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter.
Anyways, I have nowhere near forty-two journals and notebooks like the author of that post. I mean I do write in notebooks, daily even, at times. But these days, I write most things on the computer. It’s faster and takes up less space. But no matter how much I do this practice writing, I feel like I suck at it. Terribly.
My feeling is that these days, there are way too many people who think that they can be writers and only writers. My question is: what the hell are they going to write about if they haven’t experienced anything else? Writing about being a creative writing student is not interesting. And unless you have the most awesome imagination ever–doing some quickie research on Wikipedia is not going to make your prose sound authentic. For me, the best writers out there do not spend their days at writing camps and workshops. They live life.