Good writing is hard.
I mean, nearly everyone can write. It’s just how well that matters. We can all string a sentence together; unless you count the chap at a press briefing I went to yesterday who announced that, ‘Corporate carbon reduction targets are cascaded down to country business units, which develop their roadmaps to deliver assigned emission reductions.’
It’s like getting dressed. We all put clothes on in the morning (or the afternoon in the case of my next door neighbour who’s 97 and gets dressed only at night). However, not all of us look any the better for it (again, I refer you to my next door neighbour whose signature look is a dressing gown, teamed with an egg-stained cravat and flying boots). We can’t all be Charles Dickens, or to continue my analogy, (and it’s a rather favourite mental picture of mine) Daniel Craig arising from the waves in those rather manly Speedos.
Perhaps arising is not what I should have said. It interrupts my thought patterns. See what I mean? As soon as you start writing, you are hurtling along an obstacle course, trying to avoid sending your readers to sleep, or irritating people in Tunbridge Wells to the point where they reach for the Basildon Bond and their favourite green pen.
Some people think that writing is simply not for them; that it is a mystical art known only to a few, and that there is no point in putting finger to keyboard at all, unless it is to tap out ‘whistling ducks’ on YouTube. But there is. Of course there is. We may not all have the Great English Novel inside us but we all have stories to tell, and we can all learn the skill of telling them well. And, of course, there is always going to be a time in everyone’s life when they have to write a note to their next door neighbour about his trombone practice at 2 am, or an essay, or even a snappy press release about corporate carbon emissions.
You don’t always need to show off your writing skills. But then, you don’t always need to wear clothes that make you look 10 years younger. It’s just useful to know how.
Must stop now. I need to look at those whistling ducks again.