'There is already an abundance, not to say superabundance of writers who are able to express in an effective manner the mischievous commonplaces which they have to say.'
That's John Stuart Mill, rebuffing a request for support from the gloriously named Neophyte Writers' Society [as quoted in The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters]. And if he was right then, he'd be even righter now when, in an age of mass media and open-access electronic media, we are afloat on an ever widening sea of inane verbiage and 'mischievous commonplaces'. In any age, only a tiny - and ever dwindling - portion of what is being written is far above the level of tosh, and virtually all, even of the most respectable and articulate of it, will be deservedly forgotten within a short space of time.
Anyone who has spent much time in a large library with historic holding will have come to this realisation, as they discover shelf after shelf, stack after stack of works published by respectable houses, doubtless in a hopeful, even triumphant spirit, only to fall into more or less instant oblivion, to survive only in a few obscure warehouses of the past, unread and meaningless to all but the occasional scholarly specialist. And these are the relatively spare and worthy relics of the age of print. What an infinitely vaster field of dust and delusion is represented by the exponentially growing archive of the electronic age...
Yes, there is no virtue - and perhaps much mischief - in encouraging people to write. The likelihood is that the few worthwhile writers will persevere regardless; we are better off without the rest. In particular, those who believe themselves to be writing poetry should be firmly disabused, as is regularly proved on various Radio 4 'poetry' programmes week after week.
Meanwhile, of course, I carry on writing.