ink-stained wretches

How Do You Know If Your Writing Is Crap?


Photo: iStockphoto

Salon advice columnist Cary Tennis really earned his paycheck this week. In this week’s edition of “Since You Asked,” an aspiring writer asks the question all journalists ask themselves when they’re first starting out: How do we know if writing is supposed to be your career or your hobby? “A Writer or a Fool” writes in:

How can you tell if you have talent? I submit to magazines and they reject me. I submit to contests and I lose. I try for the creative writing awards at my university every year, and never get so much as an honorable mention. I work and work and work on my craft … There must be someone who could read one of my manuscripts and then whack me across the face with it — or tell me, yes, keep on trying, there’s something here. Where do I find him?

Cary’s response came in just under 1,300 words. Somebody wants to show he can earn his keep during this recession! It’s mostly a lot of touchy-feely mumbo jumbo about giving voice to the voiceless and includes an overextended metaphor having something to do with a dog lying on a deck. But that’s all unnecessary. Rather than spending the rest of your good years trying to decipher that answer, Writer or Fool, just take our advice. It’s very easy to find out what people think of your writing. It’s called blogging and the magic words are “What do you think? Leave it in the comments section below!” But honey, don’t say we didn’t warn you. —Noelle Hancock

Since You Asked [Salon]

How Do You Know If Your Writing Is Crap?