I have a colleague who sometimes grumbles about newbie writers. “There’s another nurse/teacher/yoga instructor/high school dropout with no relevant credentials. What makes her think she can break into freelancing?” This is a point of irritation for a lot of established writers: just because everyone can write, everyone thinks they can be writers — as if learning the craft and the business were mere trivia. I admit to being amused by people who freelance part-time for a couple months, land an assignment, and then think they’re in a position to tell others how to freelance. In all honesty, though, I was one of those people once — I had more enthusiasm than actual knowledge or experience. There are days when I’d be happy to trade some of my knowledge and experience for a big dollop of that wide-eyed excitement.
Here’s the thing. I’d much rather talk to the person who thinks she can be a writer just because she wants to be than to the one who only whines about how she’d like to be a writer but ten thousand factors keep her from pursuing that career. One is active, if potentially misguided and naive; the other is passive, a victim who won’t do anything about it.
When I talk with a newcomer who has more ideas than any actual ability to implement them, I get inspired. I remember what it was like to feel as if anything is possible. It helps me shed some of my cantankerous “We already tried that and it didn’t work” attitude. It helps me recall why I started writing and freelancing in the first place. These are good things.
So keep the newbies coming. We all need them.