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Anyone can write

More good news.

Have you seen the animated film Ratatouille?

In this movie, a famous chef proclaims his belief that everyone can cook, much to the chagrin of the professional chefs of the world.  They take offense to the implication that a chef does not need proper training in order to prepare excellent food, and that anyone with a passion and a kitchen can produce great dishes. The rat in the film, Remy, sets out to prove that this famous chef, who is now dead, was right.

I have adopted a similar stance when it comes to writing:

Anyone can write.

I believe that everyone has a story to share with the world, and it’s only by picking up a pen or placing one’s fingers on a keyboard that a story can be told. Perhaps not every person will end up as a published author in the traditional sense of the word, but there is no harm in writing down your story and seeing where it might take you.

At worst, you end up with a story that you can share with friends and family. At best, you have a story that the world would like to hear.

I’ve preached this belief to my elementary school students for the past ten years, as well as several of my friends who I believe should be writing every day. Two, in particular, frustrate me for their lack of effort or enthusiasm. They are intelligent, articulate writers who each possess a keen sense of observation and a unique viewpoint on the world. Every day that they do not write is a waste of their talent, and I have told them as much on many occasions.

Yesterday, I learned that both have begun to take my advice.

One of my friends, whose name is Shep, began writing what might someday be his first of many novels. He wrote to tell me that after much badgering by me on the previous night, he finally sat down and wrote for an hour.

I was so excited.

Later that same day, another friend of mine sent me a short story that she had recently written and asked me to read and critique it.  Again, this friend admitted that a serendipitously coordinated guilt trip by me and another played a role in her decision to share the story with me.

Perhaps one day you will be fortunate enough to read their work as well.