Bad Writers Ruin it for Everyone Else
There are a lot of people out there who want to be writers. I mean a lot. Dare I say more than want to be actors, singers and professional athletes combined. This may partly be because there are a lot of media which employ writers, so some may want to be print journalists while others want to be screenwriters. But I think the main reason is because everyone and their mother thinks they can write. Go to LA and I guarantee your Taxi driver has a screenplay.
I mean shit, there’s a lot of pure dreck that gets produced these days and a ton of people probably say “I can do better then that!” And sometimes you can. But most times you can’t. Most times you sit at your computer and pound out stuff that reads well to you, your mother, the old people you read it to during your community service hours and maybe your dog. Although he probably is just barking because you need to take him for a walk. But to everyone else, it pretty much sounds like a bad 11th grade English project. Unfortunately, what this venerable glut of bad writers does is ruin it for the truly talented.
Now, before everyone jumps on me for being conceited, no I am not explicitly calling myself truly talented. Do I have a well-read blog that I did nothing to promote? Yes. Am I regularly approached by people asking me to write stuff for them for money? Yes. Did I write my way into the Columbia School of Journalism with a 3.2 GPA, passable GRE scores and no professional experience? Yes, but I’m not going. It’s a lot of money. I’m not making any opinionated statements here. Just some facts. There are people out there who are better, some who don’t write anything but virulent emails. But I have had a decent amount of success for someone who has not done anything to pursue it. But enough about me, on to the bad writers….
What happens is that this plethora of shitty scribes send their God-awful efforts to publishers, producers, editors or anyone else they think might like it. And so said decision maker gets stuck with a steaming pile of shit on his desk. Then along comes a real piece of gold but sadly it is burined under this pile of shit and never gets read. And this, friends, is how so much crap gets produced. They simply don’t have time to read the good stuff.
The sad part is most of these talentless should really do think they have what it takes to succeed. Crap like drive, determination and a dream. No, successful writing takes only two things: Voice and Talent. If you don’t have both, quit now and let those who do have it get your face time. There are 37 million blogs out there and about 9 of them are readable. The sad part is it is a lot of these people’s dream to be a writer. It is their life’s work and it is a sad thing when your dream is just something you are not very good at. We see this every year on the first five episodes of American Idol, but sadly there is no such public weeding-out process for bad writers.
Even some who have had success are terrible. I had the occasion to read the Opus of a Miami Herald columnist who shall remain nameless and it was, by far, the biggest waste of half an hour I have experienced this year. And I watch a lot of Jerry Springer. It was, for lack of a better phrase, painful to read. As I scanned this sad effort, I put my sarcastic responses to his excessive and un-understandable metaphors in red for someone else’s amusement. It then dawned on me that this guy had put his heart and soul into what I was reading, his life and dreams. And even though he was a successful columnist this was his proudest work. And it was God fucking awful.
My point in using this guy as an example is this: It is all well and good to follow your dreams. But when your pursuit of your dream is keeping the truly talented from success, you are actually harming the rest of the world be trying to be “determined.” You are diluting the talent pool and a detriment to society. If you have been working at it for a long time and seen no success, maybe the world is trying to tell you something. Maybe its just not your niche. Try law school. That’s what everyone else does.