“I’m not a writer, but …” The number is now six. I started keeping count after three.
By Thornton Sully
hat is the number of times over the years that the first words from someone, upon discovering I am a publisher and editor, are “I am not a writer, but …” and then the not-a-writer produces or informs me they have 300 pages of manuscript yellow-ing in the bottom drawer of their dresser or lurking behind their computer screen. You do not need the validation of an agent or publisher to assert that you are genuinely a writer, if you write. So, take a deep breath, and answer truthfully. Are you a writer? If you answered as I suspect you did, you’ll keep reading. Because the next question may help you make the transition from being writer to author —one whose words have been offered up in printed form to share with others.
Why do you write?
I have heard quite literally as many different answers as there are writers, ranging from the cliché (“Because I must.”) to something highly personal and profound: “I write because I have a crush on words. Words make me fall in love (with people who send them to me, and with words themselves). It is a passionate, playful affair. Words are my paint box, the way I process beauty. Writing can turn any experience, however hard, into art. We grow emotionally by writing and reading, and often learn to forgive. Writing is redemptive.” —Laura Elizabeth
Or consider this:
“I’ve written for much of my post-second grade life, but now when I try to define the reason I write, I find the answer has been a moving target. […] I would have to admit that I write to remember, or perhaps more honestly, that I write to be remembered.” —Ben Angel As a reader of Legacy Arts magazine, the chances are that you want to make sure your children and grandchildren remember not only who you are, but what is imperative for them to grasp in order to learn from your own experience navigating your life. Do you have questions that you regret never having asked your
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elders? Are they the same questions that someday your children may regret never having asked you? Answer before they ask. Committing yourself to documenting your life in the form of a memoir to them is like providing them with an instruction manual for life, that only you can author. It is the extreme act of love and caring. To get started, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you pick one small incident that has stayed with you, rather than trying to make a map of all your time on the planet. You memorized dates in the fifth grade, only to discover as you matured that the dates spoke only of chronology, but nothing of history: when you graduated, when you got
Life Lessons: The Wisdom Code; Spiritual Capital; Family Connections