Your education is stopping you from writing the book you want to bring into the world.
Or more specifically, the opinion of others who believe you have to have a degree in blah-blah-blah and who vehemently oppose anyone who puts pen to paper without a framed certificate on the wall.
We're not in medieval times. A time when only monks held the ability to read and write and monasteries housed the majority of the free world's books, handing the Church of England tremendous power over the everyman and everywoman living in poverty and voluntary ignorance. A period in history when you could only craft words skillfully -- or at all -- if you possessed status and wealth.
Writing isn't an art form reserved for a sacred few. It's accessible to everyone.
And yet sadly, the fearmongering of the dark ages is still incredibly prevalent today. Having personally fought tooth-and-nail with those trying to vanilla-ize my writing style, there truly are two schools of thought here - the creatives and the academics.
I'm not bashing education. But I'm sick and tired of talented writers stifling their writing dreams because they think they're not good enough. A fear that is fed by a system that teaches us to write in one specific, formulaic style. One that kiboshes creativity and sniffs at anything contrasting what one would call highbrow. A system that is so black-and-white it blinds so many of us from the possibility that there is in fact a different way of approaching the written word.
It's damaging young minds and it has to stop.
At 15-years-old, my love affair with writing was in its infancy and yet I found myself already winning nationwide literary contests with the BBC's youth network. My high school English teacher, however, bashed my style of penwomanship. It knocked my confidence and I spent years trying to gain back the strength to string words together if they were to ever see the light of day. Most of my work didn't see the outside of my locked metal filing box.
Today I have the perspective to look back and see it for what it is. If I close my eyes, I see an exhausted teacher working late at night with piles of essays to mark, looking at the words staring back at her through the only lens she knew - the academic lens. Perhaps she was taught one way to write in university. Maybe it eroded her confidence, too. "Oh," she may have thought. "I suppose that's the way to do it. My professor knows best. My methods must be wrong. Yes, I must follow these strict guidelines and teach others to do the same."
At the risk of sounding inarticulate -- fuck that.
My teacher thought she was helping us. All she did was stifle creativity by attempting to keep wordsmithing caged within the four walls of her unyielding understanding.
How freaking boring is that? What if everyone subscribed to this? All books would sound the same. There would be no originality, no new styles, no innovation. Creativity would meet a slow and tragic demise.
Writing isn't about perfect sentence structure and immaculate syntax. It's about playing with words and arranging them in a way that makes the reader feel something. It's emotion. It's the same as music and movies - it's art designed to move you. And it doesn't have to be perfect in order to accomplish that.
So if there is a story burning inside of you, write it.
If you have a dream to write a book, start it.
If you question your abilities, keep writing and honing your craft until you're so certain of your writing prowess you will fight to defend it.
And remember this.
Books are simply 26 letters rearranged in a different order.
And you can arrange those letters in any way you goddamn please.
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