One of the first lessons I learned when I studied Creative Writing (and something which my professors never taught me, at least not in the traditional sense) was honesty. Or the ability to write unflinchingly about what I observed. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was almost failing a writing class because I refused to be honest, and wrote what I thought the professor wanted to hear.
It took a while, but I learned, and the lesson stayed with me longer than my knowledge of grammar and technical writing.
Anyone can become a good writer, I believe. Just take a course in English and study hard, study patterns of speech and styles of writing and you'll do more than fine. But a clear, sincere and honest rendering of your beliefs and feelings is stronger than the most powerful metaphor in the world. It is better than faith at moving mountains.
Honesty gets to people, and they empathize with it. It strikes directly to the heart, and you'll get a reaction, whether good or bad, creating a connection between you and your reader. I've always believed that good, imaginative writing establishes style, but honesty creates substance.
Maybe that is why I like reading blogs so much. There's a lot of bad writing out there, sure, but there is always a wealth of honesty. I enjoy reading honest posts. It never fails to teach me something.
So I guess my point is this. Fundamentally, writing, for me, is about making a connection. It's about finding a common ground between my reality and yours; that, notwithstanding our superficial differences, we are the same, at least in the important things. Everything else is a footnote.
Photo taken here.