Archive for June 6th, 2008

“I Wanna be a Writer.”

Friday, June 6th, 2008


At least two or three times a month, someone will tell me she wants to be a writer (and yes, it’s usually a woman.)

“Great!” I say feigning enthusiasm. Silence – her turn to speak.

“Uhh, but how do I begin?”

“Now this is going to sound dumb,” I say, “but – you’ve got to write.”

She frowns. Then, “I write a lot of poetry.” Expectant look. My mind groans.

Me: “It really depends on why you want to write. Writing poetry is fine but there’s not a big market for it. Writing is good to organize your thoughts and express yourself – but it’s almost impossible to make a living at it.”

She: “Do you write everyday?”

Me: “Oh yeh – almost every day.”

She: “How do you sell it?”

Me: “Actually, I sell very little of it. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get a client who needs a speech or article but mostly, I write because I love it. I write in a blog almost every day, I write in a political forum three or four times a week, and I write a lot of e-mails and sometimes letters. I just love to write.”

She: “Do you think you can help me get started?”

Me: “Of course. I’ll give you the same offer I’ve given to people for years: write three sentences a day and send them to me. I’ll read them and make constructive suggestions.”

She: “Just three sentences a day – on anything?”

Me: “Three sentences on anything you want – every day.”

She: “Wow. That’s pretty simple. I just might take you up on that.”

You’ve probably guessed the ending. Out of the dozens of people to whom I’ve made this offer, not one has ever sent me a sentence. Not one.