March 28, 2012

Some Thoughts on Writing

“If you find yourself asking yourself (or your friends) ‘Am I really a writer, am I really an artist?’ Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

That’s it. No other requirements necessary. But for a long time (a very long time and sometimes still) that little voice inside my head asks, are you really? When I read the biographies of some of my favorite writers, sure enough, there is a list of degrees and certificates a mile long that state this person is a real writer. 
I don’t have a degree in creative writing. But then again, I didn’t get a degree, a manual, or even a certificate of authenticity when I became a mother, but I am a mother regardless of my lack of training. And all of it is on the job. Some of it is instinct and some of it is sheer will. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. If I make a mistake, I try to correct it and do better next time. And that’s what I do when I write.
I started this blog as an outletpractice for the stuff I get paid for. The words get written, I hit the publish button, and voila. But what you don’t know is that I’m always correcting things. I come back to posts and tweak. I even delete. I find countless spelling mistakes in my manuals, in my essays, in my articles, and on this blog. No matter how many times I read and re-read something. I’m afraid the grammar police are going to cite me at any given moment. But again, this is practice. And practice is never perfect.
So if you’re feeling like a bit of a fraud wondering if you have the right credentials, listen to what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say on the subject in this video and in this article.

Sage advice, indeed.