I can’t build a house

I can’t build a house. I can’t build a house because I don’t possess that skill. When I’m talking to my cousin Justin, who is a carpenter, I won’t say to him, “Oh, that’s great, I’m working on building a house!”

I can’t fix a car. I can’t fix a car because I don’t possess that skill. When I’m talking to my friend Joe, who is a mechanic, I won’t say to him, “Oh, that’s great, I’m working on a car right now!”

I can’t paint a portrait. I can’t perform a surgery. I can’t star in a dance video. I can’t audition for American Idol because I would be one of those laughed out of the room.

I fully acknowledge that I don’t possess those skills. When I talk to people who do possess those skills, I would never conceive of telling them that I could do what they do. I admire their talents. I respect their talents. I watch in awe as they demonstrate their talents.

So why is it that when I tell people I’m a writer, at least half of them start talking to me about the books they’re writing? Is writing not considered a skilled craft? Do they think it’s that easy? Do they think I just throw a few words onto a page and walk away?

I am far from a perfect writer, but just as a carpenter is at home in his art, I am at home in mine. I am constantly striving to improve my writing. While the initial words may form on their own, I take my time crafting them into that finished piece. That’s a lie. The piece is never truly finished. I agonize over the perfect word – the perfect phrase to demonstrate the images that dance through my mind. I give birth to my writing, and like a child, the nurturing process does not end there. I still go back and reread pieces I wrote 15 years ago. I still make changes. I reword. I rewrite. I nurture.

I have met some incredibly talented writers lately. I am certainly not referring to any of them. I’m referring to those who think that anyone can write. Those who would never profess that anyone can paint or build a house or fix a car. To those people – I’m hurt. I’m insulted. I feel belittled. I don’t doubt that you have your own skills, your own talents. I’d love for you to show them to me, but please stop telling me about the novel you’re writing!


12 responses to this post.

  1. Great post. I tend to concur with these thoughts. On more than one venue.


  2. Frustrating, isn’t it? I know the common saying is that everyone has one good book inside of them…but how many of them actually want to put the effort in to give birth to that book? Almost NONE.

    The other thing that makes me go “what?” is how many of those claiming to be writers never actually *read* anything. I’ve found that the best writers are also the most avid readers. It makes my brain bleed internally…


    • I’ve missed reading adult oriented books. I can’t tell you how many times per day I read Cat in the Hat and McElligot’s Pool, but my books – those fabulous novels filled with a vast array of words, eloquently placed side by side call my name more and more as the days go bye. But that is why I scheduled an entire weekend off writing. Nap time comes soon and I get to crack open a brand new book. Love the smell that comes from fresh ink on pages. Heaven!


    • I have no doubt that most, if not all, people have that “one good book inside of them.” —— I just think they should ask a real writer to write it!

      “I’ve found that the best writers are also the most avid readers.” —- I completely agree!!

      P.S. I’ve been reading your “Once Upon a Time I Had a Store” blogs, but I’ve been mostly reading from my phone and so haven’t gotten around to commenting . . . yet 🙂


  3. Haha! I can totally relate and I love how you developed this post. =) Great analogies! Most of my family think that I don’t have a real job. =P


  4. […] I shall be a toad "Think as I think," said the man, "or you are abominably wicked. You are a toad." "I think," I said, upon reflection, "that I shall be a toad." ~ Stephen Crane Skip to content HomeAbout Me ← I can’t build a house. […]


  5. […] a week ago, I wrote I can’t build a house – about how not everyone can write and how I really wish everyone would stop telling me that they […]


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