Born that way?

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Ernest Hemingway

Some writers seem to be born with a gift for writing with passions that evoke strong emotions, while others soothe you with their serene words. But only you, the writer, knows whether your story took six months or six years to complete or that the finished manuscript was the third, the thirteenth, or the thirtieth revision.

Only you know if you received a graduate degree in English Literature, took classes in creative writing, or attended numerous writers’ conferences. No one needs to know that you scour your thesaurus numerous times for the most dynamic verbs and read the movie credits in search of the perfect antagonists’ monikers.

No one knows that you keep a copy of The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book by Jean Salter Kent and Candace Shelton to find descriptive phrases although you pen thrillers, not romance. The book categorizes evocative phrases for quick reference (i.e.: Physical Characteristics; Facial Expressions; Voices; Colors). You never know when one of those picturesque words will tweak your imagination. Also useful are your copies of Barbara Ann Kipfer’s Roget’s Thesaurus of Phrases which is an alphabetical listing of familiar phrases and your Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms which contains words that can add punch to your story.

Only the final manuscript counts so continue studying, learning, and writing. It’s not the reader’s business that you’re not a natural-born writer. Who is? I won’t tell anyone you were not “born that way”.


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    • dwhirsch on March 8, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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    A writer should never be ashamed to use tools. That’s why they’re there: to help one’s writing be spectacular.

      • Book Lover on August 19, 2014 at 11:03 am
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  1. A very thoughtful piece. I agree with the quote and your interpretation. It let’s us be, to write, to enjoy what we write, without critics breathing negativity over our shoulder.

      • Book Lover on August 19, 2014 at 11:00 am
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      Thank you, Wendi. We must learn to ignore the negativity and continue to enjoy writing. Writing, to me, is living.

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