I'm a glutton for punishment. Besides Gather, I have this thing about Yahoo Answers. YA is like this train wreck. You know you SHOULDN'T stare, but you can't help it. I spend a lot of time reading the Books and Authors section. Every day, there are a dozen or so people who post something along the lines of:
PLZ i need some1 to hlp i have a great idea for a book but i cant right good so if sumeone can hlp me right the ideas i will give you credit in the book!
This got me thinking, wouldn't it be great if skills or qualifications didn't apply to anything? Instead of having to hone a skill or have some talent, what if we could just use someone else's skills to make our dreams come true? I mean, I think being a runway model would be a glamourous career. But I don't think I can physically get myself down to a size 6, or if I could I don't want to work that hard. But if someone would just let me use their hot body to model with, I'd make sure they got credit! or even better, I'd like to be a rock star, but I can't carry a note. But if I could use someone else's voice and take all the credit for it, that would be cool! (Milli Vanilli aside...)
Writing is about, well, writing. If you can't write, and you don't want to work at writing, you ARE NOT A WRITER. It doesn't matter how cool of an idea you think you have. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has ideas. Writers know how to turn those ideas into stories. Too many people are more enamoured with the notion of seeing their names on a book cover than actually doing the work of honing their craft. The Cult of Celebrity has everyone looking for their shortcut to fame, and people think getting published is the easiest way. Publication is hard as hell. And it SHOULD be, as it is the reward for all of the hard work real writers put into their craft.
The thing is, each person has their own set of skills and talents. Too often, people fixate on the talents they don't have, instead of honing the ones they do possess. It's unhealthy. I remember a young woman who came up to me after a lecture I gave last year on world building. She desperately wanted someone to read something she wrote, because she wanted to be a published author. I gave it a glance, and it sucked. But there were these doodles in her notebook that were absolutely AMAZING! I asked her if she was pursuing art, and she said no, because it was too hard to try to get an art book published! 0.o
I wanted to shake her. She was more enamoured with seeing her name on a cover than developing her natural, God-given talent. Forget the fact for a moment that I know dozens of publishers who would kill for reliable, quality artists. Forget the fact that there are so many career options in the visual arts and design that you can almost name your own salary. No, she wanted to see her name on the cover of something, and therefore she wanted to be an author and just doodle.
Folks, if you don't LIKE writing, don't want to work at the craft of writing, and have no natural talent for writing, you are not a writer. The fact that you have a cool idea means nothing, because frankly I've probably seen your "cool idea" in ten query letters in the past. Unless you have the ability to take that idea and put it into a fixed form, it means nothing. That doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't make you a bad person. It simply means writing is not your talent. Decide what is, and go with it. Stop begging others to do the work for you so you can reap the glory.