A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.

We do what we do because we love it, need to do it, or both. Writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I suffocate. My friend needs to compete, to be active. To play golf or she will suffocate.

I can’t begin to count the number of people who have told me they want to be writers, but don’t know how to start. They want me to tell them how. Because they asked the question, I’m reasonably sure they will never be writers. If you are a writer, you write. No one has to tell you how or when. You will write and you will keep writing because it is not what you do, it is what you are. It is as much a part of you as your nose or stomach.


I started writing as soon as I learned to read, which was about 45 minutes after someone handed me a book. It was as if a switch had been thrown in some circuit in my brain. Words felt right.

Putting words on paper was exactly the same as speaking, but took longer. I didn’t mind the extra time because I could go back and fix written words. Being able to change my words and keep changing them until they said exactly what I wanted them to say was the grail.

old favorite books

I was awkward socially and my verbal skills were not suited to my age and stage in life. I was not talented at sports. No one wanted me on her team. But I could write, I could read. It gave me wings.

If you are going to be a writer, you know it. Practice will make you a better writer, can help you understand how to build a plot  and produce books that publishers will buy, but writing itself is a gift. If you have it, you know it.

computer gargoyle

Writers have words waiting to be written. Heads full of words, full of sentences, full of pronouns and adjectives and dependent clauses.

Talent comes in an endless number of flavors. Gifts are given. It’s up to us to use them well. My advice to all hopeful writers is: write.

Don’t just talk about it. Do it. Write a lot, as often as you can, even if most of it is bad. Sooner or later, you’ll find your way. If you don’t write, it is your loss, but maybe the world’s loss, too. You will never know how good you could be if you don’t try.

Categories: Blogging, Daily Prompt, Literature, Photography, Words, Writing

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44 replies

  1. Happy Writing! You do it so well. ❤


  2. Your last sentence says it all. I’m not a writer but I do like other creative pursuits. I enjoy making things. I cannot not make things. Not all of it is good but I keep at it!


  3. Sometimes, the words just have to be released.


  4. You always nail it, Marilyn. You’re a writer if you write. What we love is where we go.


  5. I think you struck a chord with this one Marilyn. Great post!


  6. I get so impatient with people who fuss about never having enough time to write. Or they can’t start a poem without the perfect first line. I asked one guy, why not bring the pen and paper with you in the morning, into the john, instead of the newspaper?
    “oh,” he said, shocked, “I could never do THAT…” and he sighed, “that’s for reading the newspaper.”
    I read a story long ago about a young oriental woman who took her morning work break in the ladies’ room, armed with a pen and paper. Every day she would fill one page. Someone said, “why are you wasting your time that way?” she said, “by the end of a year, I will have written 365 pages.” and she did.

    And in the same vein, often at a writer’s conference you will find someone who says,”I think I want to learn how to be a poet”. eek. I told one girl, ” you write poetry. that makes you a poet.” I don’t think it ever occurred to her.


    • I’ve heard that a lot too. I need to “learn how to write. Can you tell me the secret?”

      There is no secret. Talent helps, of course. A gift for writing is not something you can learn. You’ve got it, or you don’t. Having something to say helps too. All the gifts in the world don’t make up for having nothing worth writing.

      Sitting down and putting words on the screen or paper IS writing. Everything else is hot air.

      I’m tired of wannabes who like to talk about it, but don’t think they should have to work to get it done. Painters who are always planning to paint, but never do. Photographers with dusty cameras who “never remember” to take it out of the case. Writers who are forever waiting for inspiration and you know it won’t come. They want a trick, a hook, a simple answer. The one thing they don’t want to hear is “just DO it.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to be on several writer’s conferences online, and we were expected to crit as well as post our own work. So many younger poets (and a few older ones) would dash off lines and then post them, breathlessly. Waiting for us to tell them what to do next.
        I critiqued one young moppet’s work which was good but needed a wad of work–this could go here, I told her, and that might work better as your first line…her friends came in and said, “this is perfect JUST the way it is. Don’t you change a thing.”

        Sometimes your friends aren’t really the ones to ask.

        The hardest thing to comprehend is that the first draft is not set in stone. It’s a bloody first draft, nothing more.


        • As far as it goes, I take criticism pretty well … which means I hate it, but accept it … and try not to resent whoever gave it. Because one of the few gifts of age is that I have learned that sometimes, I’m wrong. Sometimes, the other guy is right, even when I don’t like what he or she is saying. But it’s a terribly hard lesson to learn.

          I only got it after years of working as a writer and having to deal with bosses and clients. I think for non-professionals, the lesson is often never learned. They aren’t answerable to a anyone . They have friends who tell them they are perfect — which they know isn’t true, but it’s so comforting.

          Part of this is the difference between “professional” and “amateur.” Above and beyond the issue of getting paid or at least trying to get paid for the stuff you produce, it’s recognizing that there are standards for what you do. It’s not just opinion. “Professional” means you adhere to standards of whatever profession you say you belong to.

          Those baby poets and overly sensitive wannabe writers don’t get the “standards” thing. Not even a little bit.


  7. I don’t play golf, i don’t play anything, although I am sure if women’s soccer was around when I was younger I would have joined up. At school we were encouraged to write, essays (the old word for a blog probably) and I wrote and the teachers did not encourage me, I was not one of the chosen few and so I just read and I read a lot. Many years later in Switzerland a pregnant mum to be (me) wrote a story about a fish. Then followed one starring a squirrel and I think that is where it began. I discovered blogging and found that I did not have to write a book (although I wanted to) just 5-600 words would do. Sometimes I wrote more and I had no-one that criticised me, to tell me it was rubbish (except once, but that was just an exception up to now). Today I am happy with my blogging sessions (called “me” time). I just write and have fun and it suits my purpose. I don’t required or request more.


    • Blogging has become my writing of choice. Wrote the novel. Wrote so many “how-to” books I don’t even remember most of them. But blogging is fun. No boss, no word count. No one looking over my shoulder … and best of all, no deadline! I could write another book I suppose … but I don’t want to. It’s a lot of work and I don’t want to work anymore. So I’m with you. 500, 600 words. Often less. Add a few pictures. Done. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been able to write for fun, not to pay the bills.


  8. Wow, that last paragraph was a gut punch for me! Needed that today, many thanks, my friend! ❤


    • It’s true of all the arts. So many people talk about it but don’t actually DO anything. Forget about professional. You aren’t a writer unless you write. You aren’t a photographer unless you take pictures. Period.


      • And a painter if you don’t pick up a paint brush and give it a go. You can’t help yourself. You just have to do it.When I was a child I used to draw all the time – scrap paper books, anything. My daughter did the same thing. It just has to come out. No need to think about it.


        • People talk about this stuff. They are sure they would be great … but they don’t have the time, they haven’t been to school, they are planning to do “it” — whatever “it” is — any day now. But as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t just do it, you aren’t whatever it is that makes a painter, a writer, a photographer, a whatever. Doing makes you something. Talking about it is just annoying.


          • Walk the talk, not just talk the talk. There was a woman on TV here who has just had her first exhibition. She would get up very early in the morning to paint. She just had to do it. Her husband ridiculed her, told her she was wasting her time. She got rid of her husband and painted all the time. Her work was amazing.


  9. I am not a writer, just a storyteller with a keyboard. I like to write, but I although like to do sports and I try to stay active as much as I can. I think one can have more than one talent (or gift).
    If I feel like writing, then I write. If I feel like reading, then I read. Gosh..my life got so simple 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Um, a writer IS a storyteller with a keyboard. What else do you think it means? You have some residual issues because English is not your first language, but you use the language better than most of the people who are born and raised here. You ARE a writer. I can’t figure out any other way to say it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read a while ago “Writers wish they could be storytellers. Storytellers wish they could be writers. And sometimes, at rear occasions, when that all crashes together in one person, you get something very special…something for the ages.”


        • Writing IS storytelling. Don’t believe everything you read. Even if it’s non-fiction, it’s still a story. There are great storytellers and not so great ones, but behind every writer, good, bad or indifferent, there are stories.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No worries, I will never “just” believe, no matter who says or writes what. I truly believe that not everybody who writes is a writer, the same way not everybody who throws colors on a canvas is a painter. I am not sure it that makes any sense. Maybe it’s because of the respect I have for the real great ones like Hemingway, Twain, Goethe, Shakespeare and so many more. I believe that’s the real reason why I call myself a “story teller with a keyboard.”


            • Makes perfect sense and is also important. Not everyone has the same degree of talent. I write well. You write well. Stephen King writes well. William Shakespeare wrote well. But obviously “well” doesn’t mean the same thing for all of us.

              I know I can write. I know that there are many people who write better. It doesn’t mean I’m not good, just that standards for professional quality exist. I meet some, but it’s a very high bar and I’m not anywhere near the top.

              And I’m okay with that.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you Marilyn, your words were put together very nicely, like a real writer would do.
    I needed that booster shot this morning.
    You talked about your friend golfing. I am afraid if I was able to play golf it would have a huge impact on my writing time. I loved and lived golf. I guess we make do with what we have. I will get something in my head and feel I have to write about, or maybe blow a head gasket. That sure doesn’t make me a writer but I agree a person has to keep working at it. I now wish education had been more important to me in my youth. I’m VERY thankful for all of the electronic aids that are available.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Education? I just have a B.A. I got education by reading books. Lots and lots of books on lots and lots of subjects. I’m grateful to all the electronic aids too since spelling isn’t my best trick 🙂 Many writers haven’t gone for much schooling. The most important thing really is to write. Just write.


  11. Absolutely agree, writers must write as golfers must golf! Having an obsessed father who talks about golf non stop I now talk about writing non stop! I think it comes down to doing what you love and sharing that love with others. 🙂


  12. I’ve often distinguished myself from an “author” because “authors” are published (in my mind) while I, as a “writer” simply write. My goal was never to be a published author. Not because I didn’t think my stuff was worthy of publication but because it was way too much hassle and I’d have to deal with people — editors, publishers, the whole lot… Nowadays, that distinction isn’t as important to me anymore. I still call myself a writer, because writing is what I do, but that whole publishing thing… meh. It’s a different world today. I still don’t want to publish because even self publishing means you have to deal with people >>>shudder<<< but I'll always write.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So simple yet leaves such a deep impact ! Word by word true. I love writing as it gives me a window to imagine things & the world I want to live in. I know that I’m not as good as most of us here but what I like about me is Icm trying……Keep inspiring !

    Liked by 1 person


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