WHO can write?


Photo by Frerieke on Flickr / Creative Commons

I’m conducting a series of blog posts on the who-what-when-where-why of writing. You can find my when and my where already. Today we’re tackling WHO.

The WHO and the WHAT of writing are two sides of the same coin and consequently hard to separate. When we ask WHO is writing, we’re describing a person’s skills, interests, and driving passion.

When we ask WHAT is written, we’re likely to see a profile of the writer herself in the answer.

In other words, in the end we learn that “WHO does the writing” and “WHO the audience is” may be one and the same. Both of which will determine WHAT is written. Be that as it may, we’ll try to separate the WHO from the WHAT so that I can enjoy the benefit of two blog posts instead of one.

To determine who can write, we should probably change the question. “Who cannot write?” works better. It is, after all, a much shorter list.

So, who is disqualified from writing?

No one.

You are not disqualified if you lack a degree in English, or a college degree altogether.

You are not disqualified if you are under ten years old…or over eighty.

You are not disqualified because your previous attempts at writing have failed.

You are not disqualified just because you can point to a piece of literature whose quality you could never match.

OKAY, you might be disqualified if you do not read, regularly.

I was a diver in high school and college (thank you, Mom, for driving me to those 6:00 am practices). And although swimming is not technically required to be a good diver, swimming sure helped me reach the edge of the pool safely after every dive. I have never met a diver who required a lifeguard to jump in and rescue him after each entry into the water. Every diver I have ever known has viewed swimming as a prerequisite skill for diving.

Swimming is to diving what reading is to writing.

Nearly everyone can swim; nearly everyone can read. But very few put in the hours and hard work to flip, spin, and twist through the air…and get back up and do it again when a mistake results in a punishing landing.

So WHO can write? Anyone willing to put in the work. Old, young, man, woman, educated, uneducated, fulltime worker, stay-at-home mom, English-speaker or otherwise, the rich, the poor, those with terminal disease and those who exhibit perfect health, Christian, non-Christian, you and me.

Anyone who wants to give it a try. And blessed are those who persevere, for they shall see publication.


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