As we embark on week two of our journey through the things we’ve known since our youth that enable us to be great writers, I began to think about exactly what qualifies one to claim that they are a writer? Is it that you are published? or is it something simpler…is it that you have shared? I actually don’t know that this distinction matters as many who are definitely writers don’t claim the title. It is like many things, just a name.
Instead, I think that being a writer or an author is about something much bigger. It’s an attitude, and not the circle with three snaps variety. The great writers I have encountered, may or may not have the best stories on the market, or maybe even a fresh idea for one, but what they all have in common is something intangible and amazing to behold. It is a zen like state of “B” and being.
So what is this state of “B” you ask? Simply, it is a willingness to be adaptable. This flexibility of belief and willingness to stretch is something that can be found in every child. Why is it that young have invisible friends and it’s cute, older people have them and its mental illness? I think that the running joke about hearing voices being a trademark of a writer, is misplaced. It is the trademark of an open mind. To be a writer, you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. You have to sometimes reach far within to find the piece that makes the story compelling and complete. You have to be willing to see the story in the single shoe in the middle of the pavement and not just see the shoe. You have to be willing to be coached, encouraged, corrected and criticized. You simply have to be open and willing to take it all in and then share it with the world, THAT is the state of “B”.
When we were young we played house in a room, and monsters on the playground. We learned about the moon from a story at nap time, and flowers with construction paper and glue. We learned sharing was nice and everybody got a turn. We learned that there was a world that existed beyond our home and parents, and we learned that if we wanted to, we could be anything right where we stood all we had to do was imagine it and it was.
These are the trademarks of being a writer. To dream, to reach, to be. Are you?