Quotes to Write By: Caroline Sharp

by laura didyk

Once I realized what my problem was, the next step was devising a solution. I needed to get back into practice, back into the daily routine of writing. I needed to exercise the muscles, the writing muscles, the parts of my eyes and hand and brain that would shape me back into being a writing person—a person who writes—a WRITER. I have long believed that the greatest pitfall of my profession is the desire *to be a writer*…this sets up a profile of a PERSON, unattainable and mystic. A mirage. I don’t know who this strange person is, this writer, but I do know how to write. And, perhaps, if I do the work, if I do the behavior LONG ENOUGH, I will become the person. If I write, I will be a writer.

—Caroline Sharp, A Writer’s Workbook

I love this quote for pointing out what we all know…that adopting an identity too strongly, too utterly defined (what is an identity but a definition?) can inhibit us and keep us from carrying out Shakespeare’s grand advice: To Thine Own Self Be True.

When we arrive at that thing we have aimed to be, we realize we are still us, just doing some new thing.

Be true. Be a writer. Be an artist. Be creative. Be a genius. Be a dumbo (sometimes being a dumbo gets us to genius faster than genius does). Just be. To write or paint or cook or make music or whatever while you be you, that’s the goal (in my not-so-humble opinion).