I believe in the power of writing: its benefits are enormous. For instance, students who write about personal matters tend to have fewer illnesses than students who write on hackneyed subjects. That has been scientifically proven. Writing teachers know that serious writing stimulates critical analysis: student writers often do not know precisely what they think until they have to write something down. In general, to write even to oneself in a journal (presuming one does so on paper) is to leave a mark of having existed. ( Journal or diary-keeping was widespread in the 19th century.) On the other hand, some blogs outlive their creators, as is the case of Americanbedu.com.
To cultivate writing is to cultivate good grammar, strategy (formulas of argument and story) and eloquence. Additionally, people who write become fascinated by and adept in language usage. Words are the richness of culture; with their origins and meanings they weave the breath of other lands into one society.
As a writing teacher, I think everyone should learn to write effectively. To do so is empowering.
Having experienced the role of a writing judge for a well-known magazine, I realize that a great many people think their skills honed enough to merit a book. They are often wrong.
NaNoMo (National Novel Writing Month) statistics give a startling indication of the competition out there for anyone who does write a good book:
NaNoWriMo 2012 at a Glance
341,375 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.–From the NaNoMo site.
Publisher’s Weekly/Lunch usually reports approximately 50 book sales a day, although that probably doesn’t include weekends. Usually people on the free email list read that there are even more sales to hear of if we would but subscribe to the magazine. So at least 250 books gets sold a week and about a thousand a month, coming to 12,000 a year. We could double that number to include all the book sales not reported by Publisher’s Lunch.: 24,000.
I am noticing that 24,000 and 341,000 (writers in NaNoMo) as numbers are really far from each other. Like miles. Or light years. What about all the writers who aren’t counted in NaNoMo? Maybe another 340,000? How many of those writers are querying agents?
The numbers are sobering.