The Writer in All of Us

I get this a lot: “I just can’t write. I’m definitely not a writer.” I hear this more often than, “Yes, I enjoy writing. I am a writer.” And I have a large body of friends that are indeed writers. Maybe it’s that my ears always open when the term “writer” is announced, but I hear people lament about their lack of writing prowess more than anything else. Well, besides failed relationships. But that’s another story. (For more information, Google: “Jon and Kate Gosselin.”)

Here’s my counterargument: You can write. It’s not about the physical act; it’s about storytelling. And every time someone attempts to argue they can’t write, they go on to tell me a compelling story about the last time they were lost in a foreign city. Without speaking the mother tongue. Now that’s a story, so just write it down. Write it like you would say it, nothing wrong with a conversationalist tone. Use a tape recorder if it helps – then transcribe word for word, then edit. Fact or fiction, fairytale or essay, writing tells a story. There are always small beads of anecdotes and vignettes littered throughout the prose. Writing is the very basic of human tools. So don’t tell me you can’t write. Because you can. Maybe not well, but that’s the point – writing is hard. It’s not suppose to be easy, hence the clichéd tortured writer.

Writing can be really hard, actually. I slowly meandered around my apartment today mulling over possible blog topics. ‘Death of charity?’ I thought. What about the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs? I don’t think I even need to go there, we all know how dire a story that one is. It’s just that the story creation of writing, the act itself, the editing, the fact checking, the flow, the approval of others inter alia of writing is darn onerous. And it’s the most apt example of practise makes perfect, because, truly, writing is never perfected. It’s a constant struggle trying to hone a piece into a finely whittled word cane. (See, that’s an example of a terrible metaphor, not even close to perfected or whittled.) But you already know that, my ‘but-really-I-can’t-write’ friends.

Besides writing is part of everyday activity. Writing an e-mail to a co-worker. Pounding out a typically humourous or ironic Facebook status update. Blasting out a late night text to a lover. Writing a letter to President Obama congratulating him on whatever great thing he did this week. We’re constantly writing, especially when you don’t realize it. And let me tell you, you’re writing when you’re talking.

Because, like I said, you’re storytelling. And you are a writer. So go write.

It’s that simple.

–RYAN BOLTON

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