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If you can talk, you can certainly write a book

February 25, 2013

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The other day a woman told me I must have a special talent for writing.

“I can’t write my name,” she said. “But you. How do you write stuff all the time? That’s really amazing.”

Well, after puffing my chest out a bit and allowing my wife to pat me on the back, I uttered “aw shucks” or something like that. Then, I got a hold of myself.

I assured her that she too could write. “Anyone can,” I said.

“No. No,” she assured me. “I really can’t write.”

This is an intelligent woman, some might even say charming, with a bubbly personality and an ability to talk. I mean, this is someone who can talk to anyone. She loves people and life. It exudes from her. She probably would have made a wonderful saleswoman if she had ever pursued that line of work.

My theory is, if you can talk, you can surely write. Sitting down in that chair and writing is really just talking with a pen or keyboard. And that’s fine. Writing should be like talking, like conversation, the words coming out as natural as having an informal dialogue.

So what’s the big deal? Why can’t someone who talks so well, be convinced she can’t write? She can write, if she can talk. We all can. Are some of us a little better writers than others? Well … sure. Just as some of us are better runners, painters, numbers-crunchers, or waiters. The point is, writing should come natural to most of us. If we get hung up on every word, every sentence we write, it won’t come so easily. It won’t flow.

Do you really stop and think hard about everything you say in daily conversations with friends, colleagues, and co-workers? With your spouse or significant other? I didn’t think so. Approach writing in the same way. If you have an idea about what book you want to write, it’s likely you’ve been carrying around a lot of thoughts on the story or subject for a long time. Trust your instincts. The words will come. Don’t stop, ponder and think about what you’re writing. Get it down fast, as fast as your fingers can race across that keyboard. Let loose.

But back to that woman. As I said, she’s a charming, interesting older lady, who’s had some great experiences during her seventy-five years or so on this Earth. During her life, she enjoyed a long career in health care. She has a passion for art, animals and people. Now, she may not have an interest in writing a book. But if she wants to write one, she certainly could. Most of us have a book in us. The question is if we really want to write one.

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