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Karen Woodard’s blog F. Scott Fitzgerald On The Price Of Being A Great Writer opened up a great discussion on whether or not writing can be taught. And even if you can teach someone the technical skills needed to become a writer, can they be great without digging deep into their emotional well and offering up a little piece of themselves in order to connect with readers on a deeper level?
Before answering that question, we must stop and ask ourselves, do we even want to be great writers? Or are we content with just being good? After all, not everyone can write timeless, classic masterpieces that can withstand the test of time. But does this mean that there is no place for “lesser” novels in the world? Of course not! There is an audience for everything; our job as writers is to do the work and provide readers with a choice. The choice to do the heavy reading that the classics require, prompting us to think and feel. Or the choice to read something light and fun, solely for entertainment purposes. Or the choice to read a grand adventure that lets us escape the day to day monotony. You get the idea.
|One of these things just doesn’t belong here…
Do I think that my name will ever be find a place amongst writers like Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, William Shakespeare, Jules Verne or H.G. Wells? Absolutely not! But, you know what, I’m okay with that. I’m okay with my work being a “fad” that has it’s moment in the spotlight and then fades away or only appealing to a niche market rather than the masses. My goal is not to have everlasting fame, it is simply to write the stories that are asking me to write them and to share them with the people that want to hear them.
My advice to fellow aspiring authors, never use another author’s work as a basis for whether or not you are good enough to pursue writing if that is what you really want to do. Sure, you can use it as a guide to see where you might be able to improve upon certain things or to learn new tricks of the trade. But never doubt your own worth simply because you don’t live up to someone else’s standards. While you may not be a “great” writer and have the appeal of another author, you may find that you are a “good” writer and attract an audience all your own. And isn’t that what it’s all about, doing our best at what we love and finding people who can appreciate our effort?