Thursday, July 7, 2011

Isn't writing reserved for the talented? -writing tip

Question: Dear Arline, You were my teacher and know that I have been in therapy for some time now. My doctors and friends are urging me to write about my experiences, but having studied writing, I KNOW I am not a talented writer. Bottom line: writing is an ART. And I'm no artist. Nor am I vain enough or intellectual enough, or educated enough to expect to succeed at this. So how could I presume to write my story for others to read?

Answer: I do believe that writing is an art. But it’s also a craft. You have learned that craft and were a good student. Your biggest problem was to learn to trust your own abilities.

No one else can write your stories as you can. Grandma Moses didn't paint like Picasso and some of us are pleased by that. No matter which one we may like best personally, both had something unique to convey to the people who see their pictures.

No one can create a work exactly as you can. No one else on earth has your “voice,” an element that grows out of your own experiences. We are all the sum of our experiences, not the sum of our possessions. Even when they are unpleasant, some of us may use those experiences to help others who may face a similar problem.

There are tips and little techniques that you have learned to make the work easier for you. Just as an artist learns to mix colors, what glaze or wash will make the water look "wet" and the sand look dry so, with practice, will a writer learn how to get her story across to the reader.

You have studied hard and have the experience necessary to write your own story. It won't be John Grisham's story, or Nora Roberts's story, or even Ernest Hemingway's story. It will be yours.

Practice your craft. No one can promise any writer a successful career as far as earnings go. But for me, as for many others, success is in the act of creation, whether a piece ever sells or not, if I finish it, I have succeeded.

Go ahead and write your story. You will feel better for having done so.

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