We Are All Lil’ Engines

We all have people in our lives who support us no matter what we try. If we weren’t Creative Writers, they would tell us how good we are at music or painting. Likewise, each of us has friends and family who are really good at telling us what we can’t do. In fact, we all have folk who love us and want the best for us who will tell us in detail why Creative Writing is not a worthy pursuit. Either we are not talented enough or it’s a waste of time or something like that.

As well intentioned as they are, and as dear to us as they may be, their opinion is toxic. And to drink full from their words will hemlock your dreams until they are as dead as Socrates. If you want to be a writer, then be a writer. Tell these people, that although you love them and they love you, they need to Shut Up!

Creative Writing begins in the mind before it ever reaches our fingertips. And by the mind, I mean more than thinking of a great story plot executed by interesting and individualistic characters. It is our attitude that serves as the starting point. You need to think of yourself in terms of Being a Creative Writer (and I mean Being in its fullest Existential sense).

Other people may encourage or discourage you, but in the end, each and every one of us as Creative Writers have the greatest potential to build ourselves up or tear ourselves down. The first positive voice you need to hear is your own. In order to Think Like A Writer you must maintain the proper Focus and Confidence. These two mutually feed off each other. The greater your Focus, the greater your Confidence, and the more Confident you are, the more Focused you will become. It is the perfect compositional perpetual motion machine, creative and artistic, and it is beautiful.

We all grew up hearing the tale of The Lil’ Engine Who Could. It was designed to encourage young people to feel self-assured in their abilities. But just because it is a children’s story, that doesn’t mean that the meaning is childish. It affirms a truth that endures as long as you do. The Creative Writer who develops his Focus and his Confidence can then Think Like A Writer in the fullest sense of that phrase.

This may involve finally taking a Creative Writing class or getting around to writing that novel you’ve always wanted to compose. It could be any number of things, and will become a great number of things all at once when you’ve fully committed yourself. It all begins by being a lil’ engine who thinks he can, and then gets to tracking. And once you’ve topped that mountain and cruise into that literary valley of fulfillment, you can remind yourself that you got yourself there because all along you thought you could.


I am in the final stages of editing a book for Creative Writers entitled Think Like A Writer. Be looking for it soon, and I will let you know when it is available and how you can get a copy.

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