I’ve just read this article: https://www.villagevoice.com/2009/09/09/i-will-not-read-your-fucking-script/
I have read people’s work over the years, and often enjoyed doing so. Here’s the thing: if I’ve ever given you even the slightest encouragement as a writer, I’ve meant it. I wasn’t being kind. I’m not a kind person, not when it comes to writing. Really, seriously, they say everyone has a novel in them, but I can name a dozen published novelists who I don’t think ever had a novel in them. This article is slightly more brutal than I would be, but its lack of heart is in the right place:
‘It rarely takes more than a page to recognize that you’re in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you’re dealing with someone who can’t. (By the way, here’s a simple way to find out if you’re a writer. If you disagree with that statement, you’re not a writer. Because, you see, writers are also readers.)’
Writers don’t possess some magical faculty that non-writers lack, but think of it like a professional musician listening to you play an instrument, or a chef eating your meal … if you don’t hit the notes and you didn’t use enough salt, they know exactly where the problems are.
I’ve said this over and over … if you enjoy writing, write. Be creative. Everyone should be creative. If you want to write professionally, then it’s a different game. It’s the difference between kicking a ball around a park and a tryout for a professional team. Seriously, seriously: kicking a ball around a park is probably more fun. Don’t underestimate how great it is to just have a great time. Don’t underestimate the value of self expression. If you want to be published simply as validation of how great you are as a human being, you probably aren’t all that great at being a human being.
There’s a … thing … about someone who has a chance of being published professionally, some quality of some kind that I can’t (as you see) put into words, but which is almost immediately obvious. Um … let’s try: pride in craft, with a willingness to listen and rework. You strike up a conversation, and get bombarded with a set of interesting, apparently unrelated facts – a book they read, a place they’ve been, a person they met, an event in their life, a phrase, the latest academic work – and then they say ‘and so the book would be about that’. It’s not about the ‘idea for a book’, it’s about the ‘ingredients for a book’, and making you really want to devour that book.
It has been an honour to meet the people I’ve had that experience with. You know who you are.