I absolutely believe that it is impossible to learn everything there is to know about writing. It just can’t be done. With the constant changes in the markets and what readers are looking for, you just can’t learn it all. There are just so many techniques to learn. Sure, you can learn a lot of them, and you can become a master of those you do eventually learn; but to master all the techniques of writing? I don’t know about that.
This got me thinking. Because we never stop learning about writing, I feel it’s impossible to stop learning and start teaching about it. So, at what point do we pair teaching with our learning? Sure, people have asked me for advice about how to do this, or how to write that, or just general feedback. But I’m not expert. At least, not to my knowledge anyway. Does being published make me an expert? Technically it makes me a professional, having sold my books for money. But am I qualified to teach it?
How does anyone become qualified to teach writing? You get a master’s degree? I plan on doing that to teach creative writing and fiction workshops at the college level, but does that degree make me an expert in the craft? What if I published an “On Writing” book? Would it be worth anything? Would it be helpful to anyone? I would like to think so. But I’ve only been published for about two years now. Maybe a little less. I suppose I have the experience to help guide some people through what it takes to write a decent story, but who am I to judge that? What if I started taking submissions and giving feedback on this blog? Would that be something the writer benefits from? Would it be helpful to other readers? I mean, just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. But I guess that’s the chance we take as writers. To become better writers we must become the best thieves and liars in the business. We slink around the pages of everyone else’s work and shove it into our pockets. Then we run home and try to make it our own.
I don’t mean this in a self-loathing way. I’m not trying to say that I’m not worthy to give feedback, or to even teach people. I’m just wondering what physically qualifies a person? People out there like Chuck Wendig and Kristen Lamb offer their tips and advice several times a week, and include guest posts from other writing experts. Would anyone benefit from me giving my advice as a professional writer? I’m not asking for permission, and I’m not really asking for justification to do this, I suppose I’m just curious. Think of this as more of a musing, I suppose. An expression of my internalization. That’s what blogs are for, right?