By: Marilyn L. Davis
“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”—William Zinsser
Recently, Lisa Edwards wrote an article, “Writing Is . . .”, which made me think about all who practiced this craft called writing. Who are these writers?
And then, I took Zinsser’s advice, and brought the question back to myself. I’ve written since I was a child. But like many children, I was afraid of criticism, so I kept the writings in diaries, journals and graduated to files on my computer. Most of these are long-gone, which is sad.
It is not sad that my opinions are missing, only that mine might help another see that theirs are valid. Or random words might encourage me to continue with the thought and explore it more fully with the online resources I have available today.
For it is those brief reflective passages or sudden bursts of insight and awareness that convey our thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Then if we are brave and publish them, there is the possibility that a reader will explore their feelings, thoughts and opinions.
Artist with Words
Each writer tries to convey their vision using words. I’m fortunate; I come from a family of artists, so growing up, I saw nothing transformed into something.
A tube of paint became a sky, a scrap of cloth became a quilt; pine cones became a topiary tree.
These early lessons in artistry were sometimes painful as I didn’t possess artist abilities. However, I do believe that I create art with words. Sound egotistical? That is not my intention. I am simply following the advice of writers like Anne Lamott and William Zinsser. Those successful writers who encourage us to build our sand castles, or listen to the clamoring voices in our heads and put the visions and voices to page.
“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. . .
This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away.
I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
So, today, I profess that I am a writer because…
- I have a reasonable command of the English language, a working knowledge of how to structure a sentence, and can impart understood meaning to the words I write.
- I pay attention to conversations. I listen to the subtle nuances in speech, the words of wisdom from unlikely sources, and I document them.
- I care about creating narratives that describe our human conditions, those feelings and thoughts that we all have but seldom articulate in writing.
- I want others to read my words, and I want to read theirs, the silent talking and visual listening of writing and reading.
- I am curious and want to learn new things. Therefore, any topic becomes an education when I explore resources and find other posts about the topic. Then, I’ll add my spin.
- I have made mistakes that cost me dearly, and I am willing to document them, so that others do not have to make the same kinds of mistakes if they choose.
- I want to influence other writers by encouraging them to use their voice by reading me in mine.
- I want to describe and make note of this moment, this feeling, this thought, this experience; not because they are unique, but because they are universal.
- I have remorse for my behaviors in my addiction, but I am willing to write about my self-serving motives to let another human being know they are not alone.
- I have changed my patterns in my recovery, and I am willing to show others how to do the same.
- I want to connect to others in a way that sheds light on our problems and our solutions.
- I am willing to remember, reflect, and record.
And Your Opinion Is?
I would like to hear what you think makes a writer.
- What attributes do you think a writer needs to have?
- Did you always write?
- Do you have rituals for your writing?
- What holds you back from writing more?
- Are you published? Is it self-publishing or traditional?
- Were you frustrated in finding a publisher?
- Did you use a literary agent?
- Do you have a niche?
- Do you need an additional platform for your writing?
- What is your favorite genre and why?
I think that when we exchange ideas about writing and then implement them, we all become better writers.
So, I’ll thank you in advance for your comments that will educate me about the art and craft of writing.
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing