Embracing these magic words change your life. The validation of that statement is enormous. Now, change the pronoun from “you” to “I” and say “I can write and I am a writer” out loud. Did you smile and nod in satisfaction? Did you get a gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach? Or, did you choke and not even utter the words? Although we may Reluctant Writers who choose never to share our writing with the world, we are all writers.
When I was the Humor Editor for the Adams Tiger Tales, I modeled my writing after Erma Bombeck, a favorite humor columnist. She combined wit and wisdom and bridged the generation gap so that parents and teens identified with her material. I never realized until sitting down to write this essay how much I had in common with her. During college, our guidance counselors encouraged us to forget about journalism and pursue a secretarial career. When you are a writer, one of the things you need is some encouragement. Having your guidance counselor tell you to look for another line of work is not a vote of confidence. But, Erma and I found encouragement from caring professors who recognized our talents and gave us what we needed to continue writing. They said those magic words: “you can write.”
The really hard part is allowing ourselves to believe those magic words in the first person. “I can write” is difficult to say for many of us because when we admit we believe it, then we start trying to justify what we have to say and who would want to read what we write. Those are sticky and tricky questions. So instead, we procrastinate and maybe even throw in the towel altogether. There are so many other pressing matters to attend to than writing: picking up the dry cleaning, dusting the guest bedroom, weeding the garden (wait, what month are we in?), you get the picture.
I’d like to offer the suggestion to consider the phrase “I can write and I am a writer,” as a declarative statement and an exciting beginning on your path as a writer. Remember, no one else on earth can report on your unique perspective from your point of view. Write about what you know, share stories about your life, your passions, your hobbies, the last book you read, your pet peeves, why you love Lima beans, and your place in the world. The Internet makes it incredibly easy to be “published.” Everyone has a story to tell. I hope today is the day you decide you are no longer a Reluctant Writer. You have a story to tell and we all know “Yes, you Can write and you are a Writer.”