Sunday, May 15, 2011

What exactly is a skilled writer?


I sit here, wondering what to write, when nothing comes to mind. I have two essays that are due next week for my history classes, along with answering more questions for the mailbag from the site. I can't think of anything in particular to talk about, other than the fact that I have nothing to talk about.

I took a look at my blog yesterday, and realized that I hadn't updated it since April 23rd, talking about how I wanted the Blackhawks to come back and defeat the Canucks...that was three fucking weeks ago.

I never have, and probably never will, understand what it really takes to become a skilled writer. No, being a professional writer, like a columnist or a reporter, doesn't mean you're skilled. All it means is that some company was either desperate enough, or dumb enough to hire you to get paid.

I noticed that whenever I write, I like to incorporate pop culture references, often poking fun at how cheesy some mid-eighties sitcoms were, or whatever celebrity is going off his or her wagon, pointing out how both mine and their lives are similar. Some "professionals" look down on that, pointing out how it shows signs of laziness and lack of skill in writing.

Bullshit.

I use pop culture references because it allows me to write about what I want to write about. I use them because so often in the media and Hollywood, the situations that they face are identical to what we deal with on a daily basis. It's not because I don't know how to properly tie in an every day scenario to what I am typing; it is because what I am typing is more than likely related to what we see in print and film.

But how exactly can I be a skilled writer? Does practice make perfect, or does perfect practice make perfect? Do I need to use big words in my columns to make it seem that I have an substantially larger vocabulary than the average person? Should I roast more athletes and celebrities and try to make myself appear more arrogant and confident? Should I be more critical and hateful, spitting vicious venom towards fools who look down on me?

Maybe I should try to write more from the heart; should I give you, the reader, a more telling look at what is my life? Should I let you see what I go through on a daily basis, both good and bad? Should I lie and make it seem more interesting? Should I tell you the truth and revel that yours truly is more pedestrian than one could imagine?

All excellent hypotheticals that no one but myself asked, yet not even me could answer.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea what it means to be a skilled writer. Frankly, is there such a thing? Or does the term skill actually contradict what I said earlier, and that the more of a following/success that I acquire can attest to what I've accomplished?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.

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