One of my daughter’s favorite movies is Ratatouille. Hence, it is one we watch often. In case you are not familiar, it is an animated story about a special rat who finds himself cooking in a famous restaurant in Paris. The name of the restaurant is Gusteau’s and the owner of the restaurant had a special philosophy – “Anyone can cook.” After recently watching this great show, it occurred to me that the saying applies to writers as well. For the purpose of this post, let’s assume that “Anyone can write.”
At this point, you’re probably rolling your eyes and getting ready to click yourself outta here before having to read another drippy, inspirational, you-can-do-it writing post.
It may or may not be true that anyone can write. The question is who should write. And here is where we get the rub, friends and neighbors. I would be the first person to tell someone that if they’ve got the itch, by all means scratch it. Once you’ve scratched that itch, it’s up to you what to do with it. If your writing is a personal journal that helps you work through problems and collect your thoughts, I say to keep on keepin’ on. Write your little heart out. If your scratching is intended to make a little scratch then you better be a good writer. I mean, you should be a good writer. Please consider us poor souls who on occasion may slug their way through an article you have written. I say this because these days you can be a mediocre hack and still get your stuff sold.
Last week I (barely) made it through reading an article that was posted on a major news organization’s web site. The writing stunk. It’s not that it was full of spelling errors, but the writing style made the prose unclear and I had to read most every sentence more than once to get the meaning. How this guy ever passed this piece of gibberish through an editorial net is beyond my ability. The really sad part of this is now this charlatan will be encouraged to write more articles that I may accidentally run across. As well, now he has a byline on this news site.
It absolutely gets my goat that something like what he wrote “makes it” and I’ll bet no one has called him on it. Meanwhile, us folks in the trenches are charged with high treason for misspelling one word out of 2000. It would be laughable if it didn’t irk me so.
Back to the original premise, anyone can write. I guess. If you’re a freelance writer, do us a favor and be the best writer you can be. Hone your chops, get feedback and really put your best effort out there. The rest of us writers (and readers) are counting on you.