Anybody Can Write

As a writer, I hear from would-be writers all the time. They used to write, hope to write someday, had a teacher who told them they should be a writer, and a few who have been working on a novel for years.

The thing about writing is that anybody can do it.

I’m not just saying that. It’s true.

Anybody can write.

What they write, the quality of it, the success of it, well, that’s another story, but that’s not the point.

I believe not only can anybody write, but everybody should write.

Screenshot 2020-02-06 at 12.47.17 PMWriting something down makes it real. My husband likes to joke whenever he posts a picture on Facebook that, “If it’s not on Facebook then it never really happened.”

There’s a teeny bit of truth to that—documenting something in your life in pictures captures a memory, pins it to this point in time, and keeps it from slipping through the wormhole of memory.

Writing does that times ten, because not only does it capture a moment in your life, it captures what you thought and what it meant to you. When you write anything, be it fiction or nonfiction, your worldview infuses it. You interpret the story, sorting it out in your mind, stretching it and testing it, reaching for the meaning it brings to your life.

I would argue that by writing something down, you not only safeguard that thought/moment/memory for eternity, your life is richer for it.

Instead of letting a moment float on by to be forgotten in the next news cycle of your days, you give it value and substance and meaning. Instead of being an observer, your mind becomes a participant. You pick up that thought and study it, compare it to the ones that came before, wonder how it will affect the ones to come, maybe find a glimmer of gold amongst the stones in your pan. Aha! That’s amazing! I never realized! It’s your life informing your life.

Truth: Writing makes life more real.

So even if you never plan to pursue publication, even if no one will ever see your words except you (and the people who clean out your desk someday), writing will make your life richer, give it more meaning, more color, more strength.

Don’t believe me? Go out and buy yourself a blank notebook—one of those black and white composition books are excellent or if it’s more your style, a fancy colorful journal or a moleskin. Be sure to get a really nice pen too. (My recommendation is Needle-tip EnerGel.)

And write. Write what is on your mind or your heart, or just what you had for breakfast. Write what you wish you’d said instead of fine when someone asked how you were this morning. Write about what happened last Saturday night or Sunday morning or last Christmas or your last birthday or a random Tuesday. Write about a person you love, a person who drives you batty, or the person you secretly wish you were. Write about your parents, your ex, your neighbor, your dog, write about the odd woman you saw in the produce section who looked like she had a secret or the angry man in line at the Wal Mart. Just write.

See? Now your life is real. Instead of zooming on through life like a commuter, you got off for a moment, pinned down one of those passing thoughts, got both hands on it and then held it up to the light.

Maybe you discovered a hint of what really matters to you.


This is how you find what your life is made of.

Go on, try it.

Anybody can write.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



If you’re curious about what I’m up to or want to learn about my books, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you’re inclined to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this county, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

COMING JULY 2020 from Pegasus books (available for preorder):

100 dogs cover


Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

2 thoughts on “Anybody Can Write”

  1. Burroughs said of Kerouac, “Kerouac is a writer. By that, I mean he writes.” That’s really what it comes down to. That being said, I truly don’t understand people who say, “I just want to write a book.”

    I don’t get that.

    I think (outside of keeping a journal) it’s good to have something to say. I have kept journals since the early 80s and seriously, what’s inside them is appalling. They were for me to think “to” and “in.” I kept them as journal/scrapbooks. I really rather NEVER write in another journal, but at one time I had a very serious idea about what kind of book in which I wanted to keep my journal. Most of them are black-covered, hard-bound sketch pads, at least 8 1/2 x 11. There are at least 20…

    I love to write, but I lean more toward Mark Twain than anything. “there ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t a-going to no more.” (Huck Finn)


    1. Twain was definitely on to something. And I totally agree that you need to have something to say to write a book. For me the idea of doing ALL that work and going through the torture of publication, especially marketing, better be worth it. You’ll never be compensated monetarily for the real effort, so it has to matter to you to put your message out there – for fiction maybe even more than nonfiction.


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