Can anybody write? This is a question that I have seen circulating in the writing community for a few years now. I know for a fact that many writers ask themselves this question and I know many avid readers who proclaim that "not everyone can write."
I asked a question similar to the very basic one mentioned above over on Facebook and Google+. I learned my lesson as far as asking broad questions, but I also received a load of excellent responses. Due to those responses, I considered summarizing several of the different viewpoints put forth and then setting them down here for you all to consider, but I have decided against that for this post and I may do it for my next.
This post, however, is about what I feel a writer is and whether or not anybody can write. I know some people will agree with my definition. I know some will not. But is that not the true beauty of the thing we call the internet? (By true beauty, I am not denying the greatness of cats and rainbows.) We can read the opinions of others and decide whether we agree or disagree without feeling pressured to make a decision right off?
To keep things simple and direct, here is my working definition of a writer: A writer is an artist whose constant use and mastery of words goes beyond what is commonly taught, whose life is devoted to quality writing, and who consistently writes because it is simply what they do.
To back up this working definition I have three things and accompanying question that allow me to know if someone truly is a writer.
Do they have a passion for their work and continuously seek to improve the quality of their work?
Do they have the ability to create work that is enjoyable, as an art-form, to readers?
Do they push on with consistent writing despite disappointments or rejections?
Before I answer the question of "can anybody write," I would like to clarify something. By consistent writing/consistently writes I mean that the person writes something worthwhile at least every week. There are seven days in a week, this should not be too hard to do. I do it with articles for my church newsletter or with short story prompt websites.
Also, honestly, a declaration of talent should come from someone other than one's mother or loved one.
So, can anybody write?
Individuals have varying talents, that is what makes them individuals. Writers are talented with being able to write well, but they also possess passion and perseverance. There have been posts and discussions about the difference between the hobby writer and the professional writer. I would say my thought of a real writer would fall under the professional category due to the perseverance aspect. A hobby writer fails qualification due to the sporadic occasions that they actually write.
In my mind, an individual must possess all three, Passion, Talent, and Perseverance to be a real writer.
There you have it. I have left out a bunch of word definitions and qualifying arguments, seeking to give you the simplest view of my answer to the question as possible. I believe I have succeeded.
Joshua A. Spotts
Here are some websites with prompts to help with writing something every week.
Cleverfiction is the site I use. It is a good community and has some interesting prompts.
Poets and Writers is a well-known and respected website for writers.
If you have a twitter, I am sure there are some good twitter accounts to follow for prompts as well. The internet is a marvelous place and resources for helping writers abound.