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.