I Can’t Write My Story Because I’m Not A Writer

Eva said: “Just start. Anywhere.” I agree.

Eva Lesko Natiello

typewriter medium photo by Anton Vakulenko

Someone said this to me the other night at an event I attended for people who have consulting businesses. This guy is a consultant with a compelling personal story, and he’s been told numerous times that he should write a memoir.

Earlier in the evening, I told a group of people my own professional journey from one career as an executive in the cosmetics industry to a novelist and consultant and I noticed his rapt attention. I told them that when I wrote my first novel, I wasn’t a writer. And that I wasn’t even sure what I wrote was a novel. It was that statement that resonated with this guy.

“I can’t write my story because I’m not a writer,” he later said to me.

What is it about us writers? We need permission. We need somebody with writerly authority to tap the sword on…

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Floofligence (catfinition) – the ability to learn or understand cats, often listed as floofligence quotient, which is also sometimes shortened to floof-q, or F.Q.

In use: “Thanks to being raised in a household where cats of all ages were fostered and socialized, his floof-q was among the highest that other people had ever witnessed, giving him a unique ability to empathize with cats and earning him the nickname, the Floof Whisperer.”

Back in the Writing Groove

Ah, sweet comfort. I’m back in the writing groove again.

Thinking about it as I made coffee this morning, I recognized how fiction writing every day helps me be more mindful. To understand characters’ motivation and behavior, I look to myself and other people that I know. I think about what I’ve done and what drives me, along with my inherent contradictions, and search for understanding of what I do, and why. And I do the same with other people, and the characters that I encounter in novels, short stories, movies, and television shows. All that is so that I can create richer characters and tell better stories.

Going through that thinking exercise as the darkness swept through me this week, I saw how my daily writing provides me structure and goals. Those structures and goals give my life meaning. So when I flail through the darkness and don’t want to write, my structure comes apart.

It isn’t just about feeding and satisfying the muses, telling stories, or pursuing goals of writing novels and becoming published. My writing is a tangible part of who I am. When I can’t write, I feel incomplete and adrift. I feel like I’m not me.

Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

An Opposite Day

I’m right-handed. I’ve established a routine of doing physical activities with the opposite hand.  I was initially just checking it out to see how well I could do things with my left hand.

I started with the usual stuff of signing my name, throwing and catching a ball, and eating. Then it became a challenge in motor dexterity and balance. As I’ve aged, I’m staggered to see how my habits and routines had trained and limited my body and its movement. Because of that, I expanded my opposite routines to shaving, dressing, and brushing my teeth. It surprised me how hard it was to dress doing things as though I’m left-handed. Putting on my boxer shorts was especially challenge.

Today I added one that I’ve never done before: I reversed how I wear my belt. Let me tell you, thinking through how to put the belt through the loops was funny as hell because it wasn’t easy.

What about you? Do you ever practice doing things with the opposite hand?


Someone asks for the time. You look at a timepiece. It’s 10:28. Do you say, “It’s almost ten thirty,” “It’s ten twenty-eight,” “It’s about half-past ten,” or “It’s about ten thirty?”

Or do you say, “Zulu or local?”

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme owes its presence in my stream to Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Dionne Warwick, and Helix. 

It stayed in my stream because it had a presence in my life. “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” was a hit for that impressive singer/songwriter trio way back when I was twelve years old, so I grew up with it. Living on the Peninsula in Mountain View and Sunnyvale between San Francisco and San Jose, we naturally joked about the way to San Jose. Then, watching Helix on Netflix the other night, the song was used to help create the pilot’s surreal opening scenes.

Here we go, then. It’s a mellow, jaunty vehicle for singing along, so feel free to indulge yourself.

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