I’m not sure how many times I’ve been told that someone has a great story but she can’t tell it on paper even though she would love, love, love to because she isn’t a writer.
Generally, we poop once a day but we don’t walk around calling ourselves shitters. I mean, constipation is one thing—writer’s block of the colon—but if anyone really couldn’t shit, he would die. Right? Am I missing something here? It takes a lot to make a beautiful poop. Good food, exercise, hydration, sleep. It takes a lot to write words on the page. Ink, graphite, paper, intention. Both activities are big deals. But both are also really easy if you don’t overthink things and just get down to business.
No one (that I know of) is grading or ranking your turds. Why does writing get such intense evaluation? Both are forms of creation. Neither makes you special: they are just byproducts of who you are in the world. Proof that you exist.
When we write something we’re proud of, we often walk around and tell people about it, for we think this kind of creation redeems us, earns us a place on the planet. (Okay, I’m talking about myself. Whatever.) But when we lay a great piece of pipe, do we pop over to the neighbors to brag? And why not? It’s a big deal to poop well. The body thanks you by humming, by begging for the next meal, movement, joy.
How is that any different from writing? Why are we so focused on the word writer? A writer is someone who writes, so if you put pen to paper, tada!, there you go—just as when you sit on your throne and grunt one out, you are a shitter. No difference. It’s all a way of changing one thing (food, experience, etc.) and making it into something else (shit, an essay, etc.)
So stop telling me you can’t write because you’re not a writer. That’s a bunch of shit.