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My Thoughts XX: "Sit Down and Scribble"

Burnt River, Ontario, Canada

Burnt River, Ontario, Canada

After watching a documentary on Gore Vidal, the American writer and intellectual, I kept thinking on what he said regarding writers:

"It was very clear. You don't decide to be a writer, You are one, or You're not one. This drives people crazy because everybody thinks it's easy, just... You just sit down and scribble. And that's it. Well, it isn't it. And You have to have a certain gift, which is not ... art is not a democracy. In fact art, is the enemy of democracy."

I briefly worked at a small publishing house, two summers in a row, as a summer-job when I was a student. I can recall many, many times when the owner would tell me about how many terrible manuscripts were brought to him. It was a never-ending exercise in trying to convince people that their books would not sell. Yet, many believed that they had the greatest story to tell. They thought their life experiences were indeed so memorable, that they had to be told to the world.

Why is it that so many people think that writing is easy and that anyone can do it? Just because someone can write their address on a post-card, doesn't make one a writer. Just as someone able to cut an onion, does not necessarily mean that they are a chef. Writing is an art, not just scribbles.

Actually, what I am doing here are sort of scribbles but I have been "scribbling" like this constantly for over thirty years. I say "sort of", only because there are no notes for what I am doing now. This is like a journal entry: not formal, off the top of my head, noting down a few thoughts but I did take English studies quite seriously in my years in high-school and university. So, there is a certain foundation there and the learning never stopped. I constantly read and study about writing and linguistics. I do this not only for English but for Romanian (my maternal language) and French as well.

"Scribbling" is not enough if there is no proper training before-hand. I agree with Gore Vidal: "art is not a democracy". One does not just take a brush, paint and mush them against a canvass, calling it a painting. Thus, we do not just take a pen and scribble words on paper calling it "writing". It's not a free-for-all and people should stop looking at writing as such.

Ca c'est tout: my thoughts "on paper".

All the best to everyone!

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia - a Film by Nicholas Wrathall


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 28, 2021:

Greetings Mr. Mocktan,

English was the 4th language for me. Although, I am losing my skill in many of them, haha!! You know that saying: if You don't use it, You lose it. Practice is important.

Now, regarding writing from the "English as a second language" perspective, I think that is quite beneficial for English literature because those of us who have a different language as our maternal language, bring into the English world a different kind of perspective.

Thank You for taking the time to read and leave a comment. All the best!

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 28, 2021:

Mr. Happy,

English is a second language for me. I didn't care much about this craft for a long time. But I am back to the beginning of learning how to write from your hubs and many wonderful writers from around the world.

Thank you.

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Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 27, 2021:

Greetings, Mrs. Sagar - yes, a gift for writing is needed, together with lots of learning and practice as well. Even if one is talented but does not practice, I would say is not enough in order to be good at the art of writing. And then, one can practice all they want, if they do not have that gift for writing ... it's all rather depressing. Haha!!

All the best to You! Thank You for stopping-by and leaving a comment.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 27, 2021:

I have mixed feeling about ghost-writing, Mr. Hansen. Perhaps, if one has a very interesting experience/story but that person doesn't know how to write then, a ghost-writer can fill-in the void. On the other hand, if someone hires a ghost-writer and then, takes all the credit for the written piece ... that I do not condone because that is deceiving, in order to benefit the deceiver.

Thank You for sharing your thoughts and visiting.


VIDYA D SAGAR on May 27, 2021:

You have made a valid point there Mr.Happy. Lucky are those people who are gifted with a talent for writing. Others have to work really hard. Some people don't make it in spite of all the effort. Art is not a democracy, it is a rare gift, which not all people possess.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 27, 2021:

Very good point You make, Mr. Bill: "And still, after all of that practicing, some people will never be writers."

Even if I have been studying and doing some personal writing for over thirty years, I have not rushed to publish anything. I have practiced running too, many times but I have not gone for the Olympics. Haha!!

Thank You for your visit and comment - cheers!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 27, 2021:

Mr Happy, you make good points. As a freelance ghostwriter I have encountered people who tell me they are a children’s book author and they need help writing a story. They show me what they have written so far and it is often so bad I have to change almost the whole story entirely. I know there are many people out there calling themselves authors but who hire ghost-writers to write all their books. They can barely write their own names.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2021:

It's an interesting point you make, and I agree with it. I have read some horrendous writing over the years, and I cringe each and every time. I understand writing as an outlet for one's thoughts, but to publish it as a serious piece, thinking one is talented and claiming to be "a writer," well, that is another kettle of fish altogether, isn't it?

Writing is a craft. It must be cultivated. It must be practiced. And still, after all of that practicing, some people will never be writers. Heck, I can barely draw stick figures, but I can draw them. Does that make me an artist? Not by a long shot!

Anyway, I hope your Thursday is rewarding.

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