I’m No Shakespeare

 

I’m not being falsely modest. But I’m not a writer like Shakespeare, never expect to be, never want to be. The reason: I can only be who I am.

For a long time, I refused to call myself a writer. I wrote well as a student. As an independent consultant, I wrote articles for professional publications and used them as marketing pieces for my business. I even wrote a book. But I never felt comfortable calling myself a writer, never mind an “author.”

Then I found Ricochet. And I fell in love with writing: the writing of others, the chance to write comments, and eventually even writing my own articles. Yet I still felt uncomfortable calling myself a writer. It seemed so—well—pretentious. Other self-perceptions held me back, too.

My writing is like the way I wear my hair: unpretentious, simple, and easy. I don’t have the flourishes and flowing style that other writers have. I favored non-fiction posts because I didn’t have to be too “creative.” Then I decided to try a little fiction story. It was scary. And it was fun. And it was well-received. So I’ve written a couple of stories since.

You don’t have to be a remarkable writer to write on Ricochet. You just need to be motivated to write. To share your ideas. To speak your truth. To make us laugh. To make us cry.

Let your writing express something honest and passionate. Write about something that you think is important, or amusing, or clever. At Ricochet, all kinds of essays are welcome.

Don’t worry about whether you think you’re a writer or not. Don’t agonize over topics; if people don’t read it, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about your writing, or about you. (@arahant helped me clarify that fact.)

Writing can be therapeutic, fun, maturing. It can help you clarify your beliefs and values, your struggles and your confusion regarding just about anything.

Don’t worry about being a Shakespeare. Don’t worry about whether you think you are a writer.

Maybe someday, like me, you’ll realize you are.

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter. 

    Good luck, kids!

    • #1
  2. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Susan Quinn: At Ricochet, all kinds of essays are welcome.

     

    • #2
  3. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn: “I’m no Shakespeare”

    Don’t sweat it, Susan.  There are a great many people who think Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare, either.

    You’re doing fine.

     

    • #3
  4. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    EJHill (View Comment):
    EJHill  

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter. 

    Good luck, kids!

    Well, that lets me out. I can barely manage English, much less foreign languages.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    EJHill (View Comment):

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter.

    Good luck, kids!

    Be careful what you ask for.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.
    I’m not even his peer.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    But I shan’t shed a tear.
    I will always be me.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.
    I’m not even his peer.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    But I shan’t shed a tear.
    I will always be me.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.

    Umm . . . maybe not?  ;-)

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Umm . . . maybe not? ;-)

    Well, if you went by “Sue Quinn,” it would be a spondee. But as Susan, it works.

    • #8
  9. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.
    I’m not even his peer.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    But I shan’t shed a tear.
    I will always be me.
    I’ll never be Shakespeare:
    My name’s not a spondee.

    Wow. Most of this rhymes. So it must be good.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    thelonious (View Comment):
    Wow. Most of this rhymes. So it must be good.

    The form is a triolet.

    • #10
  11. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I find that lighter fare with less pontification is better received at Ricochet. My larger profundities often garner little attention despite the anticipation of recognition and wild acclaim.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEedFHxSVSI

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I find that lighter fare with less pontification is better received at Ricochet. My larger profundities often garner little attention despite the anticipation of recognition and wild acclaim.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEedFHxSVSI

    You are fine writer, @oldbathos, and I try not to miss your posts!

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    EJHill (View Comment):

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter.

    Good luck, kids!

    I think the thing you say is out of line.

    Did that work?  Hehe . . .

    • #13
  14. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Susan Quinn:

    Writing can be therapeutic, fun, maturing. It can help you clarify your beliefs and values, your struggles and your confusion regarding just about anything.

    Don’t worry about being a Shakespeare. Don’t worry about whether you think you are a writer.

    As far as I’m concerned, you are now crowned The Bard of Ricochet as your writing style is one of the best, and way better than you give yourself credit for! Although, it must be noted, as you do above, there are some very talented writers here, and I’m constantly urging friends to get on Ricochet as I think, being a good friend, they would thoroughly enjoy it, as I do. 

    Your comment above about writing helping one to clarify beliefs, values, viewpoints etc., rang a “distant chord” and then I realized what it was — more decades ago than I care to specify, one of our Law Professors, an incredible genius who was at that time in her 80’s, said something I’ve never forgotten: if you want to really learn something, write about it. So true. 

    If I may, speaking of The Bard, I am in the process of taking a video course published by The Great Courses, from whom I get no consideration of any kind for mentioning this, by the way, on how to read and learn Shakespeare.  In the course of that undertaking, I have gotten deeply into Hamlet, am now in the same kind of study of Macbeth and will shortly turn to The Tempest. I cannot recommend it too highly, especially to The Bard of Ricochet!  :-) 

    Thanks again, Jim.

    • #14
  15. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Jim George (View Comment):
    As far as I’m concerned, you are now crowned The Bard of Ricochet as your writing style is one of the best

    Absolutely. Susan writes clearly and elegantly, achieving the single biggest goal: communicating with the readers while keeping our attention. 

    • #15
  16. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Susan Quinn: You don’t have to be a remarkable writer to write on Ricochet. You just need to be motivated to write. To share your ideas. To speak your truth. To make us laugh. To make us cry.

    One also needs time, I’m afraid.  I barely have enough time for Rico now.  And once baseball season starts I will probably be on less.  Last year I just disappeared once baseball started up.  I’ll try not to this year.  Between work, family (with a nine year old son), reading, book club, church, and following major league baseball, it’s tough to find the time.  There are priorities!

    Let me say, I love reading your posts Susan.  You are a writer in my book.

    • #16
  17. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

     A lot of people call themselves singers and artists that are questionable descriptions also.  It is a good thing to doubt yourself because it is generally a sign you are somewhat self aware and perhaps not a Dunning/Kruger low ability person.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Manny (View Comment):

    One also needs time, I’m afraid. I barely have enough time for Rico now. And once baseball season starts I will probably be on less. Last year I just disappeared once baseball started up. I’ll try not to this year. Between work, family (with a nine year old son), reading, book club, church, and following major league baseball, it’s tough to find the time. There are priorities!

    Let me say, I love reading your posts Susan. You are a writer in my book.

    You’ve written some fine posts yourself, Manny! I appreciate your priorities, but don’t go away for too long! And thank you.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    A lot of people call themselves singers and artists that are questionable descriptions also. It is a good thing to doubt yourself because it is generally a sign you are somewhat self aware and perhaps not a Dunning/Kruger low ability person.

    Very good point, @ralphie. Even if we admit we are writers, we need to constantly assess what we are writing, how we are expressing ourselves, and we communicate. Without that self-assessment, arrogance will reign!

    • #19
  20. James Hageman Moderator
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    Arahant (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter.

    Good luck, kids!

    Be careful what you ask for.

    Shouldn’t that be, “Be careful what you ask for, ma’am”?

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Hageman (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter.

    Good luck, kids!

    Be careful what you ask for.

    Shouldn’t that be, “Be careful what you ask for, ma’am”?

    Mr. Hill is not a ma’am.

    • #21
  22. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    • #22
  23. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Suspira (View Comment):

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    You don’t have to write about politics Suspira.  I am sure there are many aspects of life and experience that you know about.  

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Suspira (View Comment):

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    Yes–AND–I refuse to be called erudite! Then again, @suspira, maybe that specific adjective wasn’t meant for me! There are hundreds of styles on Ricochet. And I am sure you have something to say, you lapsed-journalist, you! So please do!

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Manny (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    You don’t have to write about politics Suspira. I am sure there are many aspects of life and experience that you know about.

    Precisely. For example, I wrote a post on dieting and, well, this one, too! @suspira, try the Quote of the Day or Group Writing; the latest GW is on “An Unexpected Gift.” You must have had ONE of those over the years. ;-)

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Here’s the sign-up sheet:

    http://ricochet.com/598460/march-2019-group-writing-theme-unexpected-gifts/

    • #26
  27. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Manny (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    You don’t have to write about politics Suspira. I am sure there are many aspects of life and experience that you know about.

    Ah, but the shallowness of my accumulated knowledge extends far beyond politics. I’m a generalist, which was great in my career writing lifestyle stories. I interviewed people who knew things and then I wrote about it. Easy peasy.

    Do we have a group dedicated to writing? I could talk about that…in a general sort of way. (Insert self-deprecating humor emoji.)

    • #27
  28. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Suspira (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Suspira (View Comment):

    The quality of writing here is intimidating for many of us. As a lapsed journalist, I know I can write coherently, but, alas, I don’t know much, which hampers contributions on a site fully stocked with erudition.

    You don’t have to write about politics Suspira. I am sure there are many aspects of life and experience that you know about.

    Ah, but the shallowness of my accumulated knowledge extends far beyond politics. I’m a generalist, which was great in my career writing lifestyle stories. I interviewed people who knew things and then I wrote about it. Easy peasy.

    Do we have a group dedicated to writing? I could talk about that…in a general sort of way. (Insert self-deprecating humor emoji.)

    A general sort of way is about the scale of what we can do in a post.  Susan and Arahant can tell you about the writing group.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Suspira (View Comment):
    Do we have a group dedicated to writing? I could talk about that…in a general sort of way.

    Sort of. For instance, there is this group:

    http://ricochet.com/groups/getting-paid-to-write/

    Or there are special interest groups, such as:

    http://ricochet.com/groups/starship-ricochet/

    or

    http://ricochet.com/groups/society-of-formalist-teaching-poets-on-ricochet-next/

    • #29
  30. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    EJHill (View Comment):

    New rule for the Code of Conduct: All posts must be written in Iambic pentameter.

    Ten long years ago,/

    To impress a sweet girl friend/

    I spoke in Haiku.

     

    And so /it should /not be/ that hard/ at all

    To write/my posts/ to you/the way/he asks.

     

    • #30

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