We’re all different and have different abilities. Some of us were born with pencils clutched in our fingers and were writing hundred-word novels by the age of five. Others of us may have been a little slower—yet have a yearning in our souls to create with the written word. Does level of capacity count? Should someone quit before fighting the good fight to make it into print, guided by the dictum “quit while you’re ahead”?
Of course not.
Just as our writing levels vary, so do the reading skills of those out there who might buy a book or two. I’ve heard authors praised to the skies who demonstrate very little writing competence—and these writers may actually be extremely successful. They are touching a group of readers with their words, even if those words aren’t what would do it for the more sophisticated among us.
We cannot mark any level of writing power as a cut-off grade below which work will never be accepted or enjoyed. That’s snobbish, and ridiculous thinking. The work may have to be edited for obvious flaws but something about what’s conveyed might resonate with fans if the story or novel is allowed to reach them.
Sometimes, in fact, agents and editors may see a piece of writing as being too highbrow or esoteric to work for the markets they’re addressing. I myself have always written pieces to include exotic and well-researched backgrounds, niche characters and situations, and historic or ethnic specificities. Then I’ve sometimes come to see that while my story was nixed, the pieces accepted relied more on simple plots than on believable settings and atmospheres. So the desire for a level of expression honestly varies, and a more refined level of storytelling might not fit the bill.
Thus those writing at a simpler ranking can’t be excluded from the fraternity of writers. My old friend Steve Solomita who has enjoyed some mystery-writing success (https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/322592.Stephen_Solomita) once said to me in complete sincerity, “We’re all workers in the vineyard.”
Jerry B. Jenkins, one of the authors of the fantastically successful Left Behind series, was very straightforward in a writing advice book of his, stating that he’s no genius. But he expressed confidence that you don’t need to be brilliant in order to simply write.
Now let me add that all those with a yearning to write are welcome on board with whatever level of underlying competence. The drive, the passion, having something to say, makes up for a lot.
You don’t need to be a writing great to join a Writer’s Digest class I teach. Coming up is 12 Weeks to a First Draft and a mystery writing class. And/or download my The Naked Writer for your Kindle at Amazon. Need editing? Send a comment here and I’ll send back a private reply.