She Writes? Yeah, but not really.

I heard about She Writes through another blog I read (The Sister Project Thanks, Marion) and really wanted to join. So I did.

But I feel like an impostor. Because I keep Writing by Ear outwardly anonymous (only her hairdresser, family, and friends know for sure) (And I’m lying about my hairdresser), and She Writes asks that you use your full name, I joined using my professional creds as a longtime marketing writer. I listed my professional Twitter account and Web site on my profile. I would have rather listed this blog, but I’m more comfortable keeping business and personal separate — thinking about clients reading about my day-to-day life gives me the heebie jeebies, and I never want to have to censor what I write here because it might not be “professional.”

Oh, it’s legit enough. I’m a writer. I get paid to do it. But I’m not She Writes’ target audience. She Writes is for “real” writers. Writers who write books. Writers who get published. Writers who write stuff other people pay money to read.

The kind of writer I’d be, if only I had the ideas, the talent, the drive, the persistence, the passion…

It’s always weird to me that I don’t have all of that (any of that?) in me. I go to a bookstore and marvel at the output of all the people who DO — enough to fill every bookstore and every library in the whole wide world. People who had something to say and said it well enough that somebody else thought it was worth publishing. More than a few of them who just decided to write a book and sat down at their keyboards and did it. (Yes, I’m oversimplifying, but basically, that’s what “real writers” do. They have it in them, and they get it out!)

Why isn’t that me? You’d think it would be. I’ve been a reader all my life. I love to write. I’m good enough at it to make it a career. I love writing this blog even more. But a book? A story? A poem? A memoir? It’s just not in me. At least not now. (Not yet? It makes me feel better to never say never.)

I think part of it is I know just how hard it would be. The writing I do for work is hard enough, but I know how to do it, so I muddle through. That kind of writing — with plots and characters and dialogue and themes and subtexts — the kind of book I’d want to read — good lord, I get scared just thinking about it. Too scared to even try to learn because I’d hate myself if I just plain couldn’t do it well. That, I think, would be worse than not even trying, though I’m sure many out there would disagree. (Yeah, I know, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Me, I’d write the best damn book I’ve ever read.)

But for now, for now I’ll just marvel, through She Writes, at all the other women out there who aren’t scared, or even if they are, do it anyway. Beautifully. With persistence, passion, and tons of talent.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have
the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
~ Sylvia Plath


  1. RL said,

    Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Confront this fear, dive in and try it anyway. The richness of life comes from attempting the seemingly insurmountable, and experiencing the process, even if the product isn’t what you hoped it would be.

    “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”
    Mahatma Ghandi

  2. Marion said,

    Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

    The secret to making the leap to being the writer you want to be has been on you all the time. Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, you’ve always had it with you. You merely must write with intent. Take it–and yourself–seriously. No writing exercises, morning pages or prompts will do this for you. In fact, these just undermine whatever confidence we feel. Here, on your blog, you are writing with intent, for instance. And your readers love it. You are writing what you know. Not a bad place to write from. See where it takes you. We’re reading. Write on, sister.

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