There’s a difference between knowing and feeling that you’re a writer and having it confirmed by someone else. The words ‘This is Bill Kirton. He’s a writer’ give me a wee buzz of pleasure each time I hear them and when I visit bookshops for talks or signings, there’s the same secret pride at seeing a notice with the words ‘Writer Bill Kirton’ on it somewhere.
But it’s not a boastful pride because I can take no real credit for being a writer. I was born with a set of genes that equipped me to put words together in certain ways and to enjoy doing so. OK, you need the discipline to make yourself sit and write, and stamina to persist with a novel, play, short story, poem. But that’s true of everyone who’s exercising a particular skill.
It was best summed up for me many years ago when I came out of a meeting with a friend, Vic. He was a graphics artist and, rather than doodling, he spent the meeting drawing perfect little pencil sketches of some of the people there. They were beautiful and I envied his talent. I said to him ‘Vic, I don’t know how you can do that’.
‘Bill, I don’t know how you can’t’
So let’s be proud of being what we are, but let’s keep it in perspective.
Here endeth the lesson.