Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#1
This is something that I've thought about for some time. I have only 98 IQ which is just barely average IQ. Not a terrible IQ per say, but also not very impressive. I hear most famous writers have IQ in the 120-130 range, which would be about top 1-2% of the population. Sometimes this makes me feel discouraged, because it makes me wonder if perhaps I'll never be a truly competent writer because of my lower than exceptional IQ. People like Tolkien etc they all had basically genius IQ level.

And it's not hard to see how IQ would correlated into writing ability. Let's be honest a person with 80 IQ is unlikely to master good grammar.

But here's the thing about that though...

Don't editors somewhat compensate for this now? Obviously a poorly told story will never be good with or without an editor. But things like grammar, sentience structure, word choice etc. Those can all be greatly improved by a good editor. And unlike in the past, editors can now be recruited on the internet without paying arm and a leg. And actually decent editors, mind you.

I wonder if affordable online editing services may be the new equalizer in the writing game between high IQ and regular IQ would be writers.


Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#2
You can definitely become an amazing writer without having a super-high IQ, but yes, it might be a bit harder. It's simply such a complex art. 

But the difference between normal people and genious writers doesn't have anything to do with vocabulary and complex grammar... 

So, I wouldn't call editors "the great equalizer". Things like grammar, sentience structure, word choice etc. are only the "cherry on the top", they raise a 90% good story into an amazing one. Or an unreadable one into a bad one, maaybe a decent one.

Getting a good editor is like being a chef and buying professional tools, or somewhat more expensive/fresher ingredients... It's not the most important thing, and would barely help most chefs.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#3
IQ has nothing to do with creativity or ability to edit.

IQ is also notoriously inaccurate and is known yo be biased against non-white people and women.

Don't let some theoretical number hold you down or keep you from writing.

There was once a man named Timothy Dexter who was functionally illiterate and was never educated, but he managed to finesse his way into a large amount of money through sheer tenacity and, admittedly, a bit of luck.

He then wrote "A Pickle for the Knowed Ones" where everything was written phonetically and there wasn't a single punctuation mark. None.

It was so popular, it was reprinted eight times.

If you do something compelling, or interesting or entertaining, people will want it. It doesn't matter if you're a genius or an illiterate fool, as long as it resonates with people in some way.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#5
When I read fiction the places I really see marks of the writer being intelligent and educated are when their economics and political factions really make sense.  Fortunately there are many types of stories that don't require that kind of understanding.  Experience and practice can compensate for IQ too.  Grammar especially is mostly about paying attention to what others correct in your writing.

Being a genius isn't all that, anyway.  A young genius is still going to have some really dumb ideas because they don't have the experience to predict where problems will occur.  Intelligence isn't all the same kind either, some people are amazing at math even if they are bad at words, and some people have really keen memories or understanding of 3D shapes and geometry, or an instinct for music...

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#6
I was a member of Mensa for a several years (qualified via a culture fair test, just to make sure it wasn't one of those white-biased old school deals). The thing to know about IQ is it's mostly just about how quickly you can take  in new information and process it back out in a useful format. Most of that is pattern recognition which, while admittedly tremendously useful at times, is not the end-all be-all.

An analogy that might help is cars: High IQ might be the equivalent of a pricey high-end sports car like a Lamborghini. You can go real fast, real quick (0-60 mph in no time flat). But here's the thing: in real life you don't often need to do those things. So, for the most part, it becomes useless for regular day-to-day life. Impractical.

IMO, unless you are attempting to write about highly intellectualized stuff, high IQ is mostly irrelevant. It might even get in the way. High IQ people are puzzle people by nature. They like pulling things apart and digging through the guts, but most people aren't all that interested in stuff like that (A murder hobo is like the exact opposite). So I think it may be easier to lose the interest of an audience mostly comprised of regular folks (the bell curve is real).

Bottom-line: I learn super quick. But that doesn't mean a person with an IQ of 100 (which is by definition average) cannot learn what I know. It just might take a bit longer to get there.

Of course, I'm your atypical high IQ person who was also a high school dropout and general miscreant... so maybe my observations aren't worth much. 

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#7

Do not worry about IQ. Don't think about it. Don't even lend an iota of your RAM towards your IQ.


It means close to nothing. Not a jot. There is no IQ barrier to anything unless if in the extreme lows, indicating a learning difficulty.
 Its one of those things that is actually really outdated academically but for some reason media likes to cling to it.

God, I hate when people (not you, you're a victim) perpetuate this idea of IQ being at all relevant. It literally measures your ability to answer a certain type of question within a time frame. I don't know where you got this 120 figure, but disregard it. You can write just as well as anyone else under your own steam. You don't need your editor to compensate for anything they wouldn't for anyone else.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#8

sunandshadow Wrote: When I read fiction the places I really see marks of the writer being intelligent and educated are when their economics and political factions really make sense.

So not writing the Hunger Games is a sign of high IQ Xd



Half Wrote: Bottom-line: I learn super quick. But that doesn't mean a person with an IQ of 100 (which is by definition average) cannot learn what I know. It just might take a bit longer to get there.

This is a common fallacy I see in regards to the IQ. High IQ people can absolutely do things that lower IQ people cannot. Somebody like Bill Gates or John Carmack could look at a complex piece of spaghetti code and figure out what it all means, because their pattern recognition ability is strong enough. Neither I nor most other people, could ever do this.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#10
IQ was traditionally used to identify mentally disabled children, or the mentally disabled in general, btw, and that is still pretty much its accepted use these days. Somehow people start using it in dick measuring contests and it just gets weird from there.

Some of the most intelligent people I've known have some really terrible prose, like some flat soda stale water shit. Something something about there are different types of intelligence, but I have to pull out a book to talk about that stuff. 

But rather, the trick to writing seems to be in practicing. If someone is good, I tend to assume that they really spend a lot of their time writing.  

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#11
Well, to be fair I was originally tested for IQ back in school because my teachers were concerned I had some type of learning disability (because I didn't pay any attention in class). They were less than amused to find out I was to the far extreme in the other direction. If they had asked I would have just told them they were just boring, but I suppose they would have preferred I had a learning disability than to hear that.

I got tested again as an adult to verify what I already knew.

I don't get people poo-pooing IQ. It is just another DNA driven physical talent, like having good eyesight, or being tall, or being naturally attractive. It can't be some white-centric thing because Jews score way higher than the white average and so do east Asians. All this angst over it seems like a waste of time -- or at least as much of a waste of time as me worrying about not having the natural gifts to play basketball like Lebron James. I've seen enough wasted talent to know it isn't the talent you were born with that matters, it is what you do with what you got. Hard work is waaaaaaayyyyy more important than talent.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#12

luda305 Wrote: There is an author on Royal Road (his name slips my memory right now) who is admittedly autistic, but has at least a half dozen (maybe a dozen) completed works on the site.  I haven't read of them yet (I think), but some of them look really good.



Autism does not, at all, imply an intellectual disability or low IQ. There are autistic individuals with intellectual disabilities, and those with extremely high IQs per the tests we currently use. The majority of austistics fall well within the average bell curve and when they are able to work and learn in an environment that takes into account their communication, sensory, and other needs, they often excel at the same things their neurotypical peers excel at. The perception of low IQ comes from a time when people didn't know how or want to accommodate for learning and processing differences. It's important to me as a neurodiverse mom of an autistic child to make sure this particular belief doesn't keep going. Lots of autistic and otherwise neurodiverse people write lots of beautiful things.

As for IQ, it's a mess. It really only tests one kind of intelligence and gives the advantage to people who are middle to upper class, generally white, native English speaking, participants in the dominant Western culture, and whose intelligence is more inclined to logic (this is not to say people who aren't any of these things don't get high IQ scores all the time, it's just a bias built into it). There are tons of articles about it out there. It's true that many writers likely have a high IQ and that having a high IQ probably helps. The test is based on logical ability, which is an aspect of abstract thinking. What writers really need to create vivid, detailed, and continuous worlds is a robust ability to think in the abstract.

That doesn't mean you can always pick the next number in a sequence (I'm so terrible with numbers it's ridiculous) or visualize the form of an object if you rotate it around. These are the kinds of things they test you for on an IQ test. There's no reason a writer needs to be able to do mathematical and spatial patterns--another thing on an IQ test. Writers need to be able to create a detective board in their head. They need to hold multiple characters and their backstories, multiple plot lines, and such together and be able to pin the string between each of these points in a way that makes sense. These skills often go hand in hand with the other skills, but they exist separately as well.

Writers also need soft skills the IQ test can never test for. They need to understand how human beings act, react, and feel. They need to be able to extrapolate from their experiences and everything they've read and consumed in the past, how a specific event might affect a character. They need imagination and creativity and the ability to pull tiny gems of inspiration and turn it into a sparkling crown.

All of this might come easier to someone whose brain more readily sees patterns, who can process new information more quickly, and who has the ability and inclination to read and absorb topics of interest at an elevated rate compared to the general population, but they are also teachable skills anyone can learn regardless of whether you're average or genius level.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#13
If I remember right, the original IQ test looks at your mental age versus your chronological age, so something something your intelligence versus the intelligence you're supposed to have at your age. Very much to pick out outliers, rather than anything.

But yeah, I agree. Practice makes perfect, and I very much believe in hardwork despite being a lazy bastard. 

And personally, I do think that editors can help make your writing more readable and overall better. But I've also read works where I can see nothing but the editors' prose, and they are fine. They are ok. They are perfectly normal, fine, good pieces of work. Then I've read works where I can taste their prose through the damn screen, and it makes my heart weep, and I can almost feel what they must have felt, when they wrote these words. So yeah, I don't think having editors more accessible now really changes anything. 

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#14
I think the desire to write is more important than your IQ, and wanting to put words on the page actually shows a type of intelligence. The main thing you need to do as a writer is learn certain skills. You need to learn how to describe things. You need to learn to change the length of your sentences to reflect what's going on in the story (shortening your sentences when writing action scenes, for example). You also need to learn how to improve your writing by catching things like redundancy, removing unnecessary words, and changing it when words just don't sound good together. Like all skills, it's learned, and it improves with practice (also regarding practice, a teacher of mine once said that practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. In other words, if you learn to do something the wrong way, you'll get into the habit of doing it wrong, and it will be harder to break that habit).

In short, just write the best you can. It might not be great, but a lot of writing from new authors isn't. In fact, I know of one author off the top of my head who is financially successful because he knows how to advertise, but his writing is some of the worst I've ever seen, professional or otherwise.

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#15

OwlishIntergalactic Wrote: Autism does not, at all, imply an intellectual disability or low IQ.



Just wanted to state this again. As someone who has worked as a psychology researcher, studied Autism Spectrum Disorder and is on the spectrum yet also a member of MENSA, autism does not equal a low IQ. Yes, some people with autism do have low IQs (as do people without autism) but it is not a necessity. 

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#16

AlexaLee Wrote:
OwlishIntergalactic Wrote: Autism does not, at all, imply an intellectual disability or low IQ.


Just wanted to state this again. As someone who has worked as a psychology researcher, studied Autism Spectrum Disorder and is on the spectrum yet also a member of MENSA, autism does not equal a low IQ. Yes, some people with autism do have low IQs (as do people without autism) but it is not a necessity.

Yep. One possible symptom of autism is also bad motor control. That means that even if an austistic person might at first glance appear to have poor IQ or a lacking intellect, in many cases it's literally just the motor control problem making it difficult for them to speak or write, and there's nothing at all wrong with their intelligence. For others, they're hyperfocused on stuff, and while they may not do well in one area they may do very, very well in another. So it's impossible to make blanket statements about the intelligence of autistics. 

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#18
OP, human intelligence is unique to the individual. "Intelligence" isn't some average score that makes you great at everything. I have great visual pattern recognition and scored pretty high on the IQ tests. I taught myself how to read. I'm undefeated in games of memory. There were classes I passed with perfect scores without having to study at all for them. 

But at the same time? I have yet to figure out how to bake a loaf of bread without messing it up. I am currently struggling to learn the elementary level mathematics I wasn't able to learn in school, and I've been working on that for years. Social sciences is a big old question mark to me and I just pretend I understand it and hope no one notices I have no fucking clue how people work. As for editing, I suck at it. There are so many grammar and spelling mistakes in my drafts that I would never notice if I didn't chuck it into Grammarly. Sometimes the pattern recognition skill even gets in the way of writing well, because, well, I like patterns, and sometimes I make up patterns in grammar that doesn't exist. 

People are just good at different things. You had the misfortune of getting tested and graded in a thing you're bad at, that doesn't mean you're not good at other stuff. IQ is just a very small silver of the vast, vast thing that is Mind. Editing services are great but don't let their existence or lack thereof stop you from writing if you want to write. 

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#19
I don't quite get it. What does high IQ have to do with writing? I always thought, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that IQ tests the ability for performing certain logical operations. It has nothing to do with creativity. I don't think that my ability to tell the right sequence of shapes has anything to do with my ability to imagine dragons, magic and such. Also, creativity has little to do with being able to spell correctly and implement proper grammar.

What I am trying to say is, why do you even care what some stupid IQ test says? Do you like writing? Yes? Then just do it. And if you believe the test to be right... then just prove it wrong!

Re: IQ overrated for writing ability because of online editing services?

#20
I think we are verging on the point where as far as writing casual web serials goes you don't need an editor or to be a genius to write good stuff, Grammarly and other grammatical programs are levelling the playing field significantly and having a compelling imagination weighs more and more on the scales. Of course, people actually bothering to use these tools is another problem entirely.