Monday, June 11, 2007

It's All In The Verb

Recently someone said to me, "So, I hear you can write." It sparked a brief conversation that inevitably included this person telling me that he could write as well and was just waiting for the time when inspiration would strike and he would have time carved out of his life for his masterpiece.

Maybe he will.

I can't say.

But it made me think about greatness and achieving my own potential and I've decided that the verb "can" isn't accurate.

I can do a lot of things. I can cook. I can swim. I can tie my shoes. Good for me. That doesn't mean much, really. It's just one more thing in a list of things I can do.

I am a writer. I am a writer because every spare second I have, voices and plots and scenes appear inside my head and I become lost inside them and can't wait to put it all on paper. I am a writer because I read voraciously to learn technique, pacing, and voice. I am a writer because I get up at 5 in the freaking morning to labor over scenes and sentences before my kids wake up and the noise begins. I am a writer because I welcome critiques as a way to push myself to be better. I am a writer because writing burns inside me and I am developing the discipline and perseverance to turn a spark of talent into a polished craft.

That's much more than saying I can. I can do a lot of things. I am great at one of them because I'm paying the price it takes to earn it.


  1. See now that's passion... :)

  2. Yes it is. I had to choose - be passionate about writing or about baking the perfect batch of tiramisu fudge brownies.

    Writing doesn't stick to my hips.

  3. I could have written that second to last paragraph.


    I love people like that guy you mentioned. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman who was bitching about how she just couldn't write because she had a "life." That she was too tired after working, too busy to even clean her house let alone write. I wanted to wallop her.

    *snorts* Writing is like anything else you want to be good at - you make time for it. You don't wait around for inspiration to strike and your schedule to magically open up. (the first one happens to me all the darn time, *laughs* the second thing hasn't happened in 31 years and I don't think it's going to start anytime soon.)

    My schedule is my writing. Everything else really gets funneled around it. (I'm lucky, I only have cats and the hubby to worry about, not kids too!)

    Mmmmm brownies...

  4. I hear you! If you really want to be great at anything in life, you have to shove other things aside and make it happen.

    I refuse to shove my hubby and kids aside - hence the 5 am wake up call.

    Shoving aside tiramisu brownies, however, was an act of heroic willpower (and this is from the girl who really doesn't like chocolate).

  5. As an addendum to my previous post: I love the "Well, I'd write but I have a LIFE" comment.


    You don't? Miss I-Work-Full-Time-And-Routinely-Kick-Butt-On-The-Kung-Fu-Circuit? Not to mention your marriage and your pets.

    I don't? I maintain a healthy marriage, raise three active boys, keep a relatively clean house, remember to feed my dog and my cat, wait tables 3-4 nights a week, teach 3 year olds every Sunday morning, and other asundry commitments as well.

    Everyone has a life - you and I have chosen a life that includes writing.

  6. Heh. Thankfully hubby understands (and really the only time he gets shoved aside is when he's trying to tell me something I go "hang on please? I'm right in the middle of a scene" :D )

    Mmmm brownies. Oh and you can send cake my way. *laughs* Not that I need it either.

    Yeah. *shakes head and laughs* I never understand that "I don't have time for X" comment.

    My all time favorite quote - hanging on my office wall where I can see it (and in various places around the house):

    How you spend your time
    is how you spend your life.

    *high fives you* I think we've made a pretty good choice here.

  7. Love that quote. I totally agree.

    One of my biggest pet peeves: People who talk a big game but refuse to put any sweat, blood, and tears into it.

    Talk is cheap. Any toddler can do it.

    Effort is what counts. I once heard a leadership training seminar speaker (in a former career of mine) say that "Success is 10% talent, 90% perseverance".

    How very true.

  8. You always had a great passion for writing and story telling. I remember thinking you would be a great writer. (You were about 5th or 6th grade!)


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