Suzanne Grenager writing in her journal

© Shannon George Photography

I woke up the other morning words rushing my head like gulls to bread on the beach. Seems I can no longer bear not to do the one thing I do best to inspire others—writing. After years of hearing that every successful author HAS to have a blog and resisting it like hell, I finally want one and not only because I’m about to launch a book. As you’ll see, no matter that everyone says we have to blog, I’m a huge fan of doing only what we love. Anything less and we do a dreadful disservice to ourselves and to the world, which if it’s to survive needs us all to be doing love.

It’s exhilarating and totally terrifying writing again, after what feels like years but may be only months—and months—of editing my book. Unless you happen to like exposing yourself to scrutiny, you know why it’s terrifying to write. It’s exhilarating because from 2004-2009 writing was the way I made sense of things, and there’s even more to make sense of in 2011. Writing was also my meditation, the morning practice that reminded me of who I am and am not, setting the stage for my every day (or almost). As I told my husband Trond on the recent morning I woke up and realized Blog Day had dawned, I’d started to miss writing like you might miss taking a you-know-what early in your day. I’d gotten constipated with the words I didn’t write.

Writing isn’t the only way to express ourselves, of course, but it is my way, and if it is also your way, we’ve got to sit down and do it. And if it’s something else, we’ve got to do that. We’ve got to do what we’re wired to do because the world can’t wait for our light. At the Cornerstone Café yesterday, I was waiting for the guy behind the counter to light me up with a cup of Joe when the topic of writing came around. The kid, who looked a boyish 17, told me he used to write for the college newspaper at LaSalle but hadn’t written anything for a while. His voice was wistful.

Boy, could I relate. I was thinking about my own last year of no-writing, yes. But I was also thinking about the decades gone by before I, a writer lucky enough to have been a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer in my twenties, believed myself writer enough to sit myself down to write regularly again. It is that writing that will at last become the books I was born to write.

“You know what you have to do to be a writer?” I said to the kid at the Cornerstone. No, what?” he asked looking up eagerly from pouring my steamed milk. “Write,” I said. “That’s it. No matter how good or bad you think your writing is, if you want to be a writer, you have to write. There is nothing for it.” That was not an original thought. And I am beyond grateful to a writer named Bill for giving me the same absurdly simple, blatantly obvious advice at another coffeehouse, in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, called The BiscuitEater (yes, it’s one word, and go figure, since the owner is a writer). Bill was doing a reading from his new fifth novel there.

The guy was maybe all of 35, and I wanted to hate him. But he seemed nice, so during the question and answer period after his reading on the back patio, I asked him his secret. How could he possibly have written so many books by such a young age? Here is what he said to me: “I sat down and I wrote, and I wrote every day until I had one book and then another, and another. If you write even a page or two almost every day, you can have a book by the end of a year.”

I was stunned. Somehow I had never thought about it that way, probably because I was still scared shitless that I wasn’t really a writer, and that if I wrote and what I wrote turned out to be shit, I’d be proven right. But how profoundly simple Bill’s prescription was, and how else to find out whether or not one is a writer but to force the question, by writing. Almost miraculously it seemed, I began to take Bill’s advice that summer. One day at a time, like a recovering alcoholic, I bit the bullet, sat down and put pen to paper, recovering the writer that I am.

It wasn’t easy to make myself do it at first, as you will hear when the first book comes out. As you will also see, I didn’t much trust myself or the process to start with. I didn’t yet believe that writing could make me a writer again or that I was good enough to publish a book. But thanks to Bill, I wrote anyway, and his trick worked. The craziest thing is it was only after I’d written enough material to fill as many books as Bill had written that I realized I had so much as one.

It’s called Bare Naked at the Reality Dance, Journal One and I’m in the thick of making it ready to share. Meanwhile here’s the blog, where I can’t wait to share the ups, downs and all arounds of a wild and woolly self-publishing process. This is proof positive that scared as I once was to write is how inspired we can become to hit others up with our words. To all of you who want to write, or whatever your thing is that takes immense courage, I am here to say we can do it. If I can do it, so the hell can you. I promise. Please let all of us here know how we can support you by writing—yes, writing!—your comments below. And thank you for reading.

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.

3 Comments

  1. Vicki Fox May 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Suzanne,
    So looking forward to reading your blog which I know can’t help but be very inspiring. You are an amazing wordsmith with much wisdom. Write on!
    Blessings,
    Vicki

  2. Trond May 12, 2011 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Very exciting, congrats!

  3. […] Grenager presents “A Page a day and presto–a book!” at SuzanneGrenager.com saying: “It’s a fun, funky take on how I took myself from a […]

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