Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On Writing Being a Specialised Skill

I happened to search on Google for "freelance writing, India" and saw this entry in position #2:

The blurb under the heading freelance writing jobs read:

"But did you know that Freelance writing could be done by almost anyone. It does not require any set of so called specialized skills in writing."

This was news to me, being a freelance writer for years, constantly cultivating my skills, specialising, diversifying, honing. Here was an expert with different things to say. Intrigued, I read the writeup (visit the link to read about it, at the cost of upping their hits further). It seems anybody who wants to earn money sitting at home can be a freelance writer. Instead of growing mushrooms (no skills needed for that either, I'm sure) or doing multi-level marketing, become a freelance writer. That's where the real, steady money is, the writer says. Not even basic writing skills or grammar is mentioned, nor that a computer at home and an Internet connection would be handy.

With no specialised skills, you can be a freelance: Copywriter, Resume Writer, Technical Writer, Health Writer, Travel Writer, Story Writer, Column Writer, or Content Writer.

No wonder there are so many awful resumes out there, and so many people calling themselves writers, asking for jobs and even getting them (outsourced poor-quality work, to be sure).

People write wanting to join my writers group, Writing in India, saying "I'm beginning writer" or "Hello, Me, Gajendra, interested in writing as career". And they write offended mails when their requests are rejected saying I'm being "elitist" and that they'll "expose me" by writing about my attitude in the local newspapers. Fortunately, none of these exposés has been printed so far. The editors of the newspapers probably received worse threats, as a result.

There is so much dreadful writing out there because there are frillions of people thinking exactly what that page says--that writing requires no special skills. Why, if they learnt English in school, even if it was a second language, they can manage quite well, so they write their own menu cards (omlate, mutton cutlass, veg pattice), brochures (We are arranging everything for you're satisfaction), mailers (Dear sir/madam, we are best company selling internet pakkage) and more.

Anyone can write, (just as the chef's book says "Anyone Can Cook" in Ratatouille) but only those with specialised skills, constant learning and hardwork can be good writers (sure, I'm one! Call me elitist or a snob).

1 comment:

Chryselle said...

So true, Hash.

I just saw a call for submissions for an anthology on London. This is by a student of writing (and therefore should know better), who asks people to send in "your writing with your details (for copywrite reasons, obviously.)

Will anybody take him seriously?