I COULD PROBABLY WRITE A BOOK
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times. "I could probably write a book." I feel the same way when I watch pro dancers. "Yeah, I could probably dance like that." If I was in shape. If I had a few years of instruction. If I had a little more skill. If I had legs up to my armpits. Sure, I could.
I can see how it happens. They open a book and read it. The words are already there. The characters are real and the conflict, well, just happens. Plus they have writing experience. They write letters, memos, grocery lists . . .
The courageous ones sit down and try it. They know the fear of the blank page. I was reminded of this yesterday as I stared at the blank page knowing I must make people appear, people who seem every bit as real as my best friends. I must make the setting come alive and engage readers with plausible conflict. Most of all, I must not only make these make-believe people feel, I must make the reader feel for them. All using only words. But serious writers don't let the blank page stop them.
I think a gifted writer makes writing look easy the way a great dancer makes dancing look effortless. So when a reader puts down a book and says "I could probably write one of these", maybe that's the ultimate compliment.