Everyone Can ( And Should) Write 

Female hand holding a pen and writing a plan in a planner

A teacher is someone who teaches, a baker is someone who bakes, a swimmer is
someone who swims and…..
 A writer is someone who writes. Period. If you write, then you are a writer. I  fully subscribe to that idea.

Writing is not some mystical, magical activity that is reserved for those who have been blessed by the Muse.

A writer is someone who writes.

I have noticed that people usually have  two different reactions to this statement:

1. Those who do not think they are writers get a wild, nervous look in their eyes and hold up their hands in protest, lest they be forced to create a sonnet or a 5 paragraph essay on demand. They immediately look for the nearest exit, shaking their heads all the while. They believe the lies told to them by red-marked papers and over- zealous teachers. They are the victims of meaningless assignments and nonsensical prompts, i.e. “pretend you are a pencil.”

2. Those who think they are Writers ( yes,  the capital “W” is intentional), get a judgmental , steely look in their eyes and hold their pens in a tight grip.  They shake their heads and begin to give rules about who can call themselves a writer, as if they are the gatekeepers to a secret club. They are victims of too many writing  workshops , books and quotes that tell them how hard it is to be a writer. They believe that writing is only for the chosen few who must “bleed” on the page and be tormented and miserable day -by -day as they eke out their precious, profound words.

To both groups I repeat: A writer is someone who writes.

The twentieth century  author and writing instructor Brenda Ueland said,

 “ Everyone is talented, original and has something important to say.”

I heartily agree.  Notice the first word in her statement: everyone. That means YOU.

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You are talented, you are original and you have something important to say. There has never been, nor will there ever be again someone with your unique outlook on the world. Only you can share your talents, your original ideas and thoughts. If you do not express them, they will go unwritten.

You owe it to yourself to write your story down. It is only in committing our jumbled thoughts, ideas and memories to paper that  can we begin to make sense of them, to see what they mean.

Does that mean you have to publish those thoughts? Create a blog? Write a book? No, of course not. If you want to do those things, go for it! The world always needs to hear new ideas, fresh stories, and honest insights.

But in truth, publishing is beside the point. It is not the reason for writing.I have been a writer of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and essays for over 50 years, but I have only  one publishing credit to my name.  So why do I keep at it and why do I teach creative writing classes to others? Because writing matters.  Words matter. Thoughts matter. Stories matter. Ideas matter.

Writing should not be something we do in school for a grade and then leave behind in relief when we graduate. Neither should it be merely the province of  the professionals, the Writers.

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Writing is for all of us because creative expression is part of our core. We are made in the image of God, which means we are like Him in essence if not always in action. What is God’s essence? He is the Creator, the Maker, the Originator of language and story. He has been writing His story since the beginning of the world. In the Gospel of John it says, “ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  Psalm 33:9 says, “ For when He spoke the world began.”

Words have power: to create, to change, to  transform.

As His creatures we are characters in the grand narrative He is telling and we all have our part to tell, to write, to add to the story. We need to create in order to transform ourselves and perhaps the world around us.

Your story, your words, your ideas matter. 
Grab some paper and a pen and begin. Write!
A writer is someone who writes. 

Next week I will post Part 2 of my Manifesto.

Thanks for reading!