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. For me, writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I strangle on words never used. 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. They want me to tell them how. That they asked the question makes me reasonably sure they aren’t writers.

If you are a writer, you write. You will write and 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 reading primer. It was as if a switch had been thrown in my brain. Words felt like home.

Writing was (is) exactly the same as speaking, but takes longer. I have never minded spending the extra time. I love crafting sentences until they are just right. I love that I can go back and fix written words, that unlike words you say, you can take them back.

Raison d’être? I write because I’m a writer. Writing is how I express myself, how I interact with the world. It’s my window, my doorway, my handshake, my dreams.

If you are going to be a writer, you probably already know it. Practice will make you a better writer, can help you understand the techniques you need to build a plot and create books that publishers will buy — but writing itself is a gift. If you have it, you know it — and most of us know it pretty young.

computer gargoyle

Writers have words. They collect in your mind, waiting to be written. We have heads full of words, sentences, pronouns, adjectives, and dependent clauses.

My advice to everyone who aspires to be a writer is to write. Don’t talk about it. Do it. Whatever medium works for you. Blogging, novels, short stories, poetry. Whatever. I’d also advise you to not talk about your work until you’ve done a significant amount of writing. I can’t count the number of great ideas left on barroom floors, talked away until there was nothing left but a vague memory and a lot of empty wine glasses. Save your words to a better purpose.

Write a lot even if it’s mostly not very good. Sooner or later, you’ll find your thing. If you don’t write, it is your personal loss, but maybe it’s the world’s loss, too.

You will never know how good you can be if you don’t try.

Categories: Blogging, Photography, Writing

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41 replies

  1. Inspiring thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are already capable of more than you give your self credit


    • Thank you 🙂 This was actually written because an enthusiastic golfing friend asked me why I bother to write and I realized that it’s the same reason she plays golf. Writing is MY sport. That and photography.


  3. “Write a lot even if it’s mostly not very good.”

    Yes. This is exactly what I need to hear right now. I have been writing again, but I spend too much time thinking that the writing isn’t good or that the subject is boring or too out-in-left-field. I greatly admire your writing abilities, loved your book, try my best to keep up with your seriously prolific blog-writing, and so I can take that bit of advice that you gave to the Internet to the heart. Here’s to more writing, and being less self-critical.


  4. Hi……Just what I needed today morning……and just like you said, there are words dancing and juggling in my head all the time….and so my blog.I relate best with poetry and that is what my blog is all about…..and yes, there are people around with, “why do you blog?”. Thanks for your inspiring words…….


    • I’m glad you find them inspiring. There are a couple of big deal bestselling authors who have blogs and share a lot about how they work and why they do what they do. Sometimes, they also include useful stuff about how they organize their stories. Kim Harrison is particularly good that way. She has inspired me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll keep doing it till I get good at it. Like you.
    Then I’ll do it even more.


    • Or you get bored. I think boredom is what makes most bloggers quit. One day, they realize they don’t have anything to say. I probably won’t because I’m going to write regardless, so I might as well blog 🙂


  6. “You will never know how good you can be if you don’t try.” – Oh, so true for so many things.


    • Sometimes trying is what shows you that you’re not on the right road … but not trying at all? That tells you nothing. Kids need to start realizing that not being successful in one thing doesn’t mean they can’t find a really good career in something else. They all seem to have this “do or die” thing … like if they don’t “make it” they are losers. Life needn’t be a contest where the only options are victory or defeat.


  7. They say we all have one good book in us. Must get busy.


    • That’s what my ex-mother in law told me. SHE had one good book in HER … or at least, one good selling book. A lot of others that never went anywhere much. Some of us have maybe one mediocre book and a few don’t have any books, but maybe they sing like an angel from heaven 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wrote a book once. Writing is a very lonely project. I have far more publications in the news paper where I tend to let off steam.


        • Newspapers are publications. So are magazines. I did a lot of newspaper writing over the years. I wish there were more publications today. The Internet doesn’t pay with money!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I have two Nursing publications I did quite some time ago. Ah well, maybe in another life?


            • You know, some of us are not fiction writers. We write about stuff, but we don’t make it up. It doesn’t make us less writers, just less glamorous to the general public. I’ve actually written DOZENS of books, some of them really good … but they all start with “Using” or “How to use” or “The User’s Guide to” (whatever, usually software, but sometimes hardware). It’s a different skill set, but not a lesser one. Most novelists couldn’t write a decent how-to or non-fiction presentation to save their lives. Novelists are not the only writers who count! How would the world run without the rest of us?

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Writing is good for the soul.


  9. I’ve always thought of ‘a writer’ as someone who makes a living at it, which I’ve never managed to do. But like you, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember because I can’t not. Even my thoughts roll through my head in sentence construction most of the time.


    • Authors make money. Writers try hard. I used to earn my living writing. Now, I do it for fun, but writing is still what I do, whether or not anyone is willing to pay me. It’s “professional” as a modifier that indicates someone who earns their daily bread doing whatever it is. Talented amateurs are the people who make breakthroughs in the arts … after which they can call themselves professionals. Until then, we aspire. My only sticking point is people who call themselves professionals when they’ve never sold a piece of work (and often, never even tried). It doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t someday, but “pro” is reserved for those who throw themselves into the pit to swim with the sharks. Being a working artist of any kind is not an easy or secure way to live.


  10. I agree with everything you wrote here Marilyn! Well said


  11. I have found the same applies to all art in general, don’t just think about it do it, I can create, but I am not much of a writer, just my blog and lots of pretty pictures. Besides I have also though of gold as a frustrating way to take a long walk! 🙂


  12. Well said I was reading and nodding in agreement all the way. Write and keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bobbing my head throughout this post and the comments. Indeed if you want to write…write and write and write some more. Blogging reignited the passion of my youth and by writing every day on one or both blogs I have improved. I read most posts out loud too before publishing. When I don’t I miss a few errors even if I proofread in my mind. Great post!!


    • Good for you. I miss typos EVEN when I read it out loud. My husband read my entire book cover to cover out loud and both of us missed dozens of typos.

      I think those of us that will be or are writers pretty much know it. We will write. We may not write deathless prose or best-selling books, but we will write. I’m really grateful for blogging. Personal letters were always my best “form,” and blogging is very much like letter writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My high school friend lied getting my ten to twelve page letters when she was at the cottage lol summer. She’d say she could hear my voice in my letters I can be too transparent but it takes too much energy censoring my thoughts and takes the fun out of writing. Your book still lingers with me.


        • Thank you and thank you. While I was in Israel, I wrote Garry lots of letters and he wrote ME lots of letter. I don’t think I’ve seen him write anything longer than a postcard since we’ve been together. He also saved every letter I sent … it took up half a dresser in his apartment. That probably was a clue to our future. Letter were special. Email, not so much, but it’s still communication and that’s the essence of it.

          Liked by 2 people

  14. When I attend poetry conferences there are always people there who say, “I want to learn how to become a poet”. sigh. I have a fairly stock answer, and it surprises them. I say, do you write poetry now? oh yes, they say, but… I say, then you are a poet. you just have to keep writing it and it will get better. But the poet is already there.

    I doubt if they even get it, but I still try.

    As you say, you either are, or you aren’t. And no one, truly, can teach us how to do this stuff, all they can do is smile encouragingly or frown slightly. Beyond that it’s just us and the pen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remarkably few people get that. It’s not a popular or politically-correct viewpoint. We are supposed to say “follow your dreams … if you keep trying …” etc. ad nauseum. But it’s a lie. If you have no talent for writing, or poetry, or painting or music … or any creative art, you won’t ever be good at it. You can try until your heart breaks, but some things require talent. And not everyone has it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True enough, but you don’t tell that poor woman that she has all the talent of an old sock when she writes her poems, or her short stories, because you know how important it is to her. And now and then a light will go on over one of those sincere heads and they suddenly, flamingly, get it.


        • I would never do that. I sometimes delicately suggest that a different kind of writing might work better for him or her. I would NEVER have imagined technical writing would be my strong suit. If someone had told me, I’d have laughed at them.


    • Judy, reminds me of the olden days when “fans” would approach and say they wanted to be TV news reporters. They wanted to know how I got my stories, how I wrote them and how I was able to report them on camera. What was the secret?
      I always tried to be polite with my responses.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve always felt that if you speak well, you’ll write well. Where I fail is in coming up with the ideas about which to write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 90% of my idea are crap, but the other 10% are good and some are really good. In blogging, no one expects each post to be brilliant. We are a pretty accepting crowd. We read through typos, appreciate those little flashes of brilliance when they occur.

      Writing books … well … that’s something else. I’m not good at taking an idea and spinning it through an entire book and plot. I’m bad at plots and my characters are too much like me — that is, they just sit around and talk or think. They don’t DO anything. Even I find them boring.

      Writing IS talking. I started in radio, so I still read my copy out loud before I publish. If it doesn’t scan, it needs rewriting.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ideas are all around you. You just have to notice. It’s like taking pictures. The most familiar piece of advice: Write about something or someone you know. Doesn’t have to be epic.
      For instance, we have yet another dreary, chilly, rainy, gray day here. The 3 dogs are sleeping peacefully. The arthritis is having a field day with my body. Mildly depressing with thoughts about similar days when I was younger.
      Marilyn is writing about all of this right now.




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