Monday, July 04, 2005

What's in a noun?
The National Commission on Writing (why is there a National Commission on Writing?) has issued a report stating that poor writing skills costs Americans millions of dollars a year. To which, as a writer, I can only say, "duh."

Why is it that everyone thinks they can write? Nobody assumes that they can sit down at a piano and, without any training, practice, or experience, bang out a piece of Chopin. And yet put people at a computer, tell them to write, and everyone thinks they're Hemingway. Guess what folks? It doesn't work like that.

Writing is a skill and, sometimes, an art. And like all skills it must be learned and you must practice to keep your fluency. It's not enough to learn in 3rd grade what a verb is and where it goes. You have to learn how to string words and phrases together in a way that makes sense and is something people want to read.

Somewhere along the way, I completely lost my fluency. I used to write every single day, and I was good at it. Now I rarely write and I'm as rusty as the Tin Man. I mourn the loss of my words, but at least I'm not deluding myself that can still write. Oh sure, I can be coherent, but that's not enough. At least not for me.

I've been looking for a new job for a few months now, and not finding anything. Very few people want to hire writers (even rusty ones), because they assume anyone can string those words togather. And yet these companies would never assume that their receptionist could do some programming for them just because she uses a computer.

People, stop assuming and start recognizing that a good writer is not a luxury, it's a neccessity. Then hire me, dammit.

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