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Do Writers Need IQ Or LQ? by Ita Roche

Writing.ie | Resources | Developing Your Craft
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Ita Roche

IQ – Intelligence Quotient. What is it? Who has it? And, by what yardstick do we measure it?

In the literal sense, IQ is a total score derived from a set of standardized tests or subtests designed to assess human intelligence. But without exams to see where they rank on the scale of ‘Christ Help Me’ to 162 – the perfect IQ score to grant one Mensa status – how do we decipher intellect?

Is it education? Do we need to graduate Summa Cum Laude from a prestigious college to be recognised as having a high IQ? What about literature? Do we gauge aptitude on reading preferences? Seriously, have we morphed into a race who consider those digesting Shakespeare, Yates or Hemmingway more intellectual that those reading commercial fiction?

And what of conversation – are we so blind to the genius of LQ – Life Quotient, that judge people’s acumen based on topics discussed? Does an ear for Mozart indicate intellect? Is it portrayed by where we wine, dine, or holiday? And of course, there’s the all-important job title – is it being the employer instead of the employee? And, as an employee, does the position we hold within that organization depict our level of ability?

What of high-tech gadgets and gismos – do we calculate an individual’s left-brain capacity on the grounds of how techno-friendly they are? Are we who can bung-off emails, and text-messages in seconds any wiser than our great-grandparents were?

Malcolm Forbes, said ‘Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one,’ but I can’t help but wonder just how open-minded the intellects in society today are? Are the generations who school ten-plus years longer, developing IQ to its max, any more intelligent in the end?

It is on this front that hypostasise that, LQ – Life Quotient, is as important as IQ for success, especially for writers. You’ve got to believe in what has caught your imagination, what’s nestled in your heart; what no one else sees but you, as you write it. Characters that are alive to you, and you alone.

This is when is vital to recognise my precious 4 A’s –

Attitude, not Aptitude, decides the Altitude – Always!

You can have brains to burn but if it’s wrapped in a wrong attitude – stinking thinking, it’s not going to get the job done. History sadly reveals many a gifted, but broken genius.

As regards LQ and without delving into where memory is housed within the brain, let’s just work with it being necessary for writing along with right quadrant creativity. LQ is Life Quotient – our life experiences that have created our greatest highs and our deepest lows and everything in between.

Voice is where LQ comes into play. You perceive these characters from the right side of your brain, which I believe, is connected to the heart. And, I also believe connecting to the heart for highly intellectual left brainers can be a touch harder to do. Some are blessed to be equally balanced between both sides, and oh, I envy them.

Personally, I’m a right brainer. It’s my predominant side. However, I am very aware we actually need both hemispheres to function optimally as writers. But, my 60 years of LQ have given me a lot of material to draw on, along with knocking some of the rough edges off me along the way, which is always a good thing.

Life Quotient is every ounce of you poured onto the page – every experience woven into the tapestry being created. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a prison story or a medieval mystery, everything you experience in life will ultimately influence the writing in some way. It becomes interwoven throughout what is revealed, or not, within the text. Little nuances sprinkled throughout that you may not even be aware of. For me, even simply lighting a candle is indictive of the interaction between darkness and light and also very important in my everyday life. No matter how harrowing the night hours, one candle breaks the darkness; gleans hope. This wove its way into my prison story. That is LQ at work.

From the vocabulary used to the imagination expressed – it’s all fragments of who you are as a writer, as a person, or who you wish to be, or escape – what you’ve read, seen, heard, or a combination of all of the above interwoven to create something that only you, who has grasped these threads of life and story can comprehend. You are the one who sees the vision for the particular book – who has lived your story – only you can tell it. Only in living your life can you bring what you do to the page from your perspective. That is why no one else can ever write your characters story or do the story justice.

You grasp the nuggets of an idea and interlace them in a way that’s influenced by every ounce that embodies and encompasses the wholeness of you. So how on earth could anyone ever weave together and create the tapestry that will represent the hours, days, weeks, months, perhaps years you have spent on it – and ‘it’ of course not just being the story, but your life!

The idea came to you to give it life – without you it cannot live – what a blessing – what a challenge.

And it will challenge you – everything in you – the intellect in you, IQ – and the life you’ve lived, LQ. Embrace it with all-your-might and give it everything you’ve got.

And when you are done – breath – live some more, and brace yourself to pour everything into the next one…

To conclude then –

Perhaps we should take a moment to realise we are all far more intelligent than the digits of our IQ’s – appreciate just how precious LQ is, and understand that you need IQ for the editing, submitting, publishing side of the business, while you draw on LQ for the longer slower process of writing the prose.

Write on dear people – write on.

(c) Ita Roche

You will find Ita on:


About the author

Far from the instant technology of today, Ita Roche began penning stories as a child in the back of a copy, which she and her best friend swapped at the end of each school day. Though dyslexic, her love of words and stories grew and she became a columnist for the Wexford Free Press and has had many articles in the Wicklow People.
With zero knowledge of the publishing world, her first short story was published in the, Do The Write Thing, anthology, after entering a competition run by @poolbegpress on the RTE Seoige and O’ Shea TV Series.
Eager to learn the craft and hone her skills she joined @Writing.ie and @WritersInk where she is thrilled to have found what she considers to be her tribe of fellow creative spirits. With the help of her peers, she is working on her first novel – Block 44 – A Battle Between Murder Faith & The Mind.
You will find Ita on Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/itaroche
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000018124429
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/itarochebooks/

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