“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
– Ernest Hemingway
I think Hemingway nailed that on the head. We would like nothing more than for our readers to think that we were always endowed, or ‘born’ with all the talent and skills necessary to deliver brilliant pieces of writings. As if it were just another extension of who we are.
What a wonderful idea to try to sell to our audience. Masking the fact that we have travelled through lessons and stumbled aplenty to get to a point where we can seem like we have always know how to do this – which of course isn’t the case.
Writing is like learning to walk as an infant I guess. We must realise we have legs and they are capable of letting us stand, walk and run before we can even fathom the fact that we can sprint and travel the world. How did you learn to write? Was it creative writing sessions in English class that triggered your realisation that it is something you could do? Or were you always fond of jotting down small tales for no one else but yourself? Were there any point in time you simply lived in your imagination and it was the reality that seemed farfetched and made of air?
I? I believe I learnt to write after I learnt to tell a tale. A cousin of mine told me once that as kids I used to look at images on postcards and make up a story to tell. I remember doing tiny plays and directing my younger family members to follow them – a private play. So, you see, I guess I’ve always realised I had my legs, my ability to tell tales – and as a youth I used to occasionally dabble in walks of fantasy.
It wasn’t till the moment I could no longer narrate stories due to language differences that I realised I could try to write instead. Therefore, I haven’t always known how to write, but I have for the most part always known that I possessed the talent to imagine.
Now, when I write, most may actually think I’ve always known how. The truth is – it is something I’ve learnt to do. I’ve been practicing enough to be able to disappear behind the world, the characters, or events I write.
So, do yourself a favour. You may still be learning, as am I, but it is truly no one’s business to know that. Let them think you have always known it. Be proud, be loud, and always write what you can narrate – the stories will take shape on their own.