These days, everyone and their mom has a blog. Self-publishing online has never been so easy: with sites like WordPress, even the computer (and HTML and CSS) illiterate can just hop on and follow the easy-peasy directions.
So everyone’s getting their inner blogster out, whether it be in the non-fiction or fiction variety.
Does this mean everyone is a writer?
Language is fundamental to humans, more so than art or music. A person can go through life without ever learning to draw a nature morte (that’s a still life: I just really like the French term) or read sheet music. But you cannot live without communicating in some form, whether it be Sign or words or crudely written notes on the back of already used Post-Its. No matter what, we have been engrained to think in terms of words, to translate pictures into words and to analyze our experiences through words. (Synesthesia complicates the issue, but I think that’ll be its own post.)
So everyone writes. Without the filter of the publishing industry (including all forms of paid media), everyone’s free to write.
But there’s a reason that the traditional industry hasn’t collapsed completely, and that’s the fact that people trust it more than they trust the self-promoting words of some random kid or grownup or whatever who’s got a little grassroots community of friends who aren’t willing to tell them that their work really isn’t that amazing.
Savantism aside (damn you, biology, for having so many exceptions!), there’s no such thing as an innate talent that needs no education. The Internet is one such place to get an education, if you’re lucky to find a way to honest feedback, but it should not trick serious writers into thinking that their skill doesn’t matter anymore, that they shouldn’t keep trying to improve.
Next time: tips for a blog you want people to linger over!