Listening to Rachel Dratch on the podcast Conversations with Funny Feminists, I had one of those “Stars! They’re just like us!” moments. You know, when the tabloids run photos of a famous actor buying groceries or walking their dog or toting their yoga mat into a gym. Rachel Dratch is just like us! (At least some of us.) She’s a reluctant writer.
Or as she put it:
“I don’t really enjoy writing. I think it’s very difficult.”
Later she explains it’s not the writing that’s hard, it’s not stringing together words. It’s, well…
“I think most of writing is just making yourself do it—the act of it, without worrying about the result.”
“Without worrying about the result.” Yeah—easy, right?
A reluctant writer on writing
While writing her 2012 a book, A Girl Walks into a Bar…: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Mid-Life Miracle, Dratch found herself paralyzed.
I set this bar for myself: This has to be this literary—I can’t even write a word because it has to be this work of art, kind of thing.
Yep, that kind of thinking would definitely turn you into a reluctant writer. So she started reading memoirs by other writers—
Just random memoirs. And what I realized is like—nobody’s memoir is like, “They were like Mark Twain.” They were them and everyone had their own style. And that totally took away the standard I set for myself. Just write this how you would tell the story. And then that’s how you do it instead of sitting, prejudging yourself.
“Just write this how you would tell the story.” Or, as I tell my writers, do what Seth Godin does: Start by telling the story. Talk it out loud and write what you say. No one can tell the story exactly the way you can. Because, as Dratch reminds us,
Only you have your voice, and your experiences and personality. So whatever you’re bringing to a sketch or improvising—just trust….Bringing your experiences and who you are is all you can do.”
Of course, I’d add “or writing” to that list. Write who you are—whether you’re telling your own story or someone else’s, or reporting to the board about the third quarter sales figures, do it as yourself. Let your personality shine through. And you’ll shine.
Have a listen to the podcast for yourself—and let me know what you think of it.