I have a confession to make: I’m not the best writer. Sometimes, I’m not even a good writer.
No, this isn’t me being humble or the typical self-deprecating cliché of an artist. Most people who write for this site can write circles around my dialogue and prose. I know – I’ve read their work.
It takes me longer to write and longer to edit than other people. And even though I’ve been writing for a long time, I still fall into beginner writer traps. Sometimes I want to throw away the pen, chuck out my PC, and find a respectable retail job like most English majors fresh out of college.
But I haven’t. At the end of the day I love to write. It’s been one of the few constants in my life. There is nothing I’d rather do. (Well, maybe become a quantum physicist and disrupt the space-time continuum as we know it. But that requires math – and if there is one thing I am worse at than spelling it’s numbers.)
Writing allows me to explore the galaxies in my mind. I get to tinker with them, explore them in ways that make them alive. I hunger after the anguish and the joy I find in writing. I want to write till my fingers bleed and my brain oozes. I have dreams of being published and writing as a profession.
I know I’m not the only one out there. I know there are others like me, for whom understanding grammar or to learning how to spell simple words takes years. People with learning disabilities who wish to improve their writing, who have the drive to create but lack the craft and just take longer to mature as writers.
So, why this column, then? What can you learn from a “bad writer”?
“Bad writer” brings up different images for each of us. The “bad writer” can be an individual who has no drive and never finishes a piece, or someone who lacks proper skills in structure or mechanics. Sometimes “bad writing” lies in cliché plots and trite characters. Any number of combinations may be possible. Further still, a “bad writer” can simply be a state of mind we catch ourselves in when we are unable to see the nuggets of beauty we do create or the progress we have made. I have fallen into every category of a “bad writer” at one point or another. Sometimes, I still do.
And it’s the struggles a “bad writer” faces that have inspired me to start this column. I want to put writers in contact with ways to improve their writing and to practice new skills and techniques. I want these tools to be encouraging and cost-effective. I also want to create a community of writers who have genuine respect and care for each other. Being cruel has never helped anyone grow.
I want this blog to be a place where you can find inspiration and solace. It can be place to escape when you wish to strangle your really talented writer friend who wrote brilliance in two hours – or when you just suffered a brutal critique.
I’ve spent years in writing clubs, groups, classes, and workshops. I have read everything I could get my hands on. Writers are shaped and molded and they take time to mature and grow. For the “bad writer,” this path is longer and bumpier than it is for someone who can rely on natural talent.
But this doesn’t mean we’re hopeless or have little potential to become amazing writers. Many of the greatest writers we know spend countless hours and years molding their one bit of genius. I feel with enough time, enough drive, enough practice we “bad writers” can become the great writers of our generation.
If you have stumbled your way to my little neck of the web, I welcome you to join me as I explore the many facets of a writer’s craft, creativity, and inspiration.