Write in One Hand…

I have never been able to decide if I should feel badly for or annoyed by people who constantly talk about being a writer, or wanting to be one. Some even “desperately” wishing they were a writer. But alas, they are mothers or they work two part time jobs, or they can’t get their thoughts organized. So, they don’t write, and talk about it instead.

People ask me about how I do it. And when I do, and even make suggestions to help them begin their writing “dream”, 99% of them have every excuse possible as to why they can’t do it. I take limited time, energy, and experience into consideration when I talk to these people, and I make suggestions accordingly. Nevertheless, it’s almost always, “well, I can’t do that because…”

I hear that so often, I’ve begun to lean towards the annoyed approach with such would-be writers.

The truth is, if you have any instruments by which you can consistently produces letters on some kind of surface, you can in fact be a writer. There are writing prompts, and writing groups. Online message boards, and books for dummies. There’s the two pages you can get done daily if you wake up just thirty minutes earlier, or go to bed thirty minutes later. There’s fan fiction to get your ideas a kick start. There are free blogs you can start, and tweets you can read. You can meet actual writers and talk to them. Book fairs and conferences. Classes and presentations.

There are, in other words, a few hundred if not a few thousand ways anyone can start writing instantly. If one wants to be a writer, there is zero excuse not to be one, as far as I’m concerned.

These people who long for the writer’s world, and yet do nothing at all to get there possibly fall into the category of that old quotation, (often attributed to Fitzgerald), “People don’t want to write. They want to have written.” If that is the case, excuses are just laziness. Why is writing one of the few accomplishments people would wish to have already done, without doing it?

Or perhaps its more along the lines of, “I want to have created something that people gush over at dinner parties, while singing the praises of my artistry.”

Whatever the reason, those who claim to want to write, and never do so, do not actually want to write. I don’t know what they want, but I can tell you what I want…I’m a writer and I want them to be quiet.


  1. Heh.

    I sympathize with people who don’t have time. I really do. I know what that’s like…..and yet I have a blog and a book review job and several WIPs and even some published poetry. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to make sacrifices for those things. I can’t do it all. I write instead of practicing my cello. I write instead of spending more time on Facebook or exercising or everything else I’ve had to give up.

    And some days it feels like it’s still not enough. I think that what scares people off from writing seriously is the prospect of so much sacrifice with so little payoff. You want something back when you give something up, and with writing, you often don’t get it. If the reward of writing itself isn’t enough, then writing might not be for you — because often getting rewarded for writing is a long slog up a brambly hill infested with snakes.

    • That’s all very true. And I can’t say, I suppose, that nobody anywhere ever has an excuse not to write. I can however say that your average, everyday person who says they can’t write probably is making excuses. Plus, if a person is truly convinced they don’t have the time/energy to write, one wonders why they spend so much time/energy telling the world the wished otherwise.


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