Can I be a good writer?

I have been debating about whether or not to continue on with my dream of writing. Life keeps getting in the way and I have thus far been unsuccessful in my endeavor to finish a story.

I don't want to go into all the why's and how for's of why I'm not getting anything done because it's very personal and I don't feel like sharing quite that much with the entire world wide web; however, it's been on my mind. What makes someone a good writer?

Do you have to be able to wax poetically like say, Jane Austen? Do you have to be able to scare the bejeebers out of someone like say, Stephen King? Do you have to be able to write a best seller like say, Danielle Steel or John Grisham? I don't think so. I think that as long as you have a story to tell and a pencil (or writing implement of your choice) and paper you can write.

One of my favorite writers is Erma Bombeck. She left us way too soon and took her talent and her humor with her. She had a way with words that always brought a smile to my face or a tear to my eye. I'd like to share with you all some of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes and one column. She reminds me that we don't all have to be Charlotte Bronte to be a writer.

I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do. Here's Erma....

“Housework can kill you if done right.”
Erma Bombeck

“Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy.”
Erma Bombeck

“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.”
Erma Bombeck

“Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn't even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.”
Erma Bombeck

“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”
Erma Bombeck

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams.' Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or how bad am I?' That's where courage comes in.”
― Erma Bombeck

“When God Created Mothers"

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."

It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."

That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."

God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."

I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure."

Can it think?"

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."

It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."

What's it for?"

It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."

You are a genius, " said the angel.

Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.”
Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers


  1. Writing is a very personal thing. So are dreams. No one has the definitive answer on what works, doesn't work, should work, etc. Listen to your heart, your head, and then do a double check with your gut. You'll figure it out.

    And I'm sitting here all sniffly over that Bombeck column. She was such a wise soul and God called her home way too soon.

  2. Love Erma Bombeck - and the "When God Created Mothers" is one of my favorite pieces. Thanks for sharing those, Erika, it's been some time since I read me some Erma!

    As for writing - I love Silver's advice: Listen to your heart, your head and then do a double check with your gut." I've done the listening, but am still trying to figure it out.

  3. Gosh, I haven't read her in a l o n g time!!! My mom had one of her books, something along the lines of "if life is a bowl full of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?" I was too young at the time to truly appreciate it - should find it and read it again.

    I can't say anything better than Silver about goals and dreams but I can add - writing does not have to be a 'can I' question. Just do it, don't worry about how good it is - grammar, spelling, poetry etc. are all secondary to the story - if you have it in you then get it out and don't think about 'is this the right time', 'am I good enough', 'what will others think', 'I'll never finish so why start' ... just write and enjoy the process for what it is - polishing/sharing and such can come later, or never but write 'cause you WANT to - no other reason. :)

    PS: if Silver or Janet comes back - I have not been able to comment on you blogs in like, forever. I hope you didn't think I've abandoned you !

  4. Eep, Ban? Just because you've been busy or because something on the site is preventing you?

  5. honestly, a little of both BUT mostly it's a technical thing preventing me, then I got frustrated and stopped going every day. sorry, kept meaning to drop you an email but, well, I got lazy and caught up in my BJD hobby - me sorry :(

  6. Hey, ban - no worries...it's nice to see you around the Blogosphere, though - hope all is well in your neck of the woods :)