I’ve been told that there are people who don’t like to write.
I know. It was a shock to me, too.
I don’t mean that feeling that writers get when they can’t focus, or when they dread sitting down at their desks and come up with all sorts of other tasks that need to be done right this second in order to put off the inevitable. Word avoidance isn’t what I mean.
No, I’m talking about people who actually don’t like writing. At all. Any form of it. The kinds of people who can just about summon up the energy to write “Happy birthday. Love Dad” on your annual card. Or the people who write one line emails like, “I made reservations for dinner next Saturday,” and then sign it with their initials.
I’m not talking about a 15-year old, either, for whom you might be able to blame the texting thing–Kids These Days don’t know how to write full sentences, we’re told.
No, this not-liking-to-write avoidance transcends adolescence. It affects businessmen trying to write memos, mothers emailing teachers, bloggers struggling to post …
The irony is that, in this computer-driven world of ours, writing is more important than ever, and yet more and more people are completely tongue-tied when faced with a blank page (digital or otherwise).
So … what do you do?
As a person who loves words, loves writing, and (while able to procrastinate with the best of them) can usually find something to write down, it’s hard to comprehend how other people can’t summon up three consecutive sentences. For example, I might mention to, oh, my father, that I “only got 500 words written today,” and he’ll look at me speechlessly and say he can’t imagine writing that much in a month. Or, I’ll casually refer to my novel and its 90,000 words and he’ll tell me that he’s never written that many words in his life. The mere thought of being able to do so astounds him.
Now, my father (and other afflicted souls) have plenty to say. You can sit down and have lively conversations with them where they spread good advice, brilliant ideas, and generally interesting factoids about all sorts of subjects. Yet, when you say, “That’s great. You should write it down,” fear sets in.
I know, I know. Many people don’t like to read, so their familiarity with sentence structure may be weak. They not be facile with words because they’re mere nodding acquaintances. But then there are the people (like my father) who take weekly trips to the library to check out new books to read … and yet the idea of writing more than a sentence or two makes him dig in his heels and say, “I can’t!”
My question to you is … why? What makes this happen?
Next time … tips for these poor, lost individuals.