Most people can’t tell a joke very well.
I think everyone knows if they are funny or not, except in-laws, and about half of all people can tell a decent joke. Most of the others can kind of tell one well, and a few… just can’t tell a joke at all.
Same with stories/anecdotes. Verbal tales. Some people can’t tell one, others can.
So when it gets to writing, a lot of people were taught to read and write and diagram sentences and identify a noun and verb, so we all think we can write. We do it all the time, after all. Grocery lists. Reports for work. Facebook posts.
But it’s like telling a joke, we can’t all do it. A lot of us can, but a lot of us can’t. The ones who actually try, who sit down and bang out a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and hold their breath and hit the PUBLISH key, are the envy of 80% of Americans who WANT to write a book.
Those who tell their written story WELL… that’s a smaller group.
Those who do it on par with decent writers we’ve actually heard of, that’s even smaller.
And those who do the WORK of editing, rewriting, reviewing, getting critiques, finding beta readers, selecting cover art (or doing it yourself) and then promoting it – that’s a fraction of that big pie. That’s where it is a little less fun and a little more work. Like a job – the thing they were escaping from when they were writing.
So I get it, and I’m sympathetic, and I work diligently to help that fraction do their story proud, to make it the best it can be.
But it’s work, even when we pretend it’s easy. Like Ernie Hemingway said, “It’s none of their business that you had to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Their = the reader, the audience.
Like, the magician doesn’t explain how the trick is done. But the magician has to learn to do the trick.
You have to learn to write, and that means learning ALL the stuff that’s involved.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.