Early this morning I sat in front of my parents pellet stove, warming up my cold feet, while writing in my journal and drinking Airborne. I was frustrated by the sentences emerging from my brain, so I stopped writing and looked out the picture window. I was lucky enough to catch the sunrise. Pinks, purples, and a few shades of yellows lit up the sky and covered Mt. Lassen in a haze of colors.
Henry, my mom’s crazy dog, looked up at me a little perplexed and tilted his head. He could tell I was annoyed with something. I was over-thinking my prose.
William Zinsser said, “This is the problem of the writer who sets out deliberately to garnish his prose. You lose whatever it is that makes you unique. The reader will usually notice if you are putting on airs. He wants the person who is talking to him to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.”
I started writing again, followed Zinsser’s advice and paid attention to Henry. Relaxing and being himself is Henry’s specialty.
Be yourself. It’s a powerful reminder and it’s not easy to do in writing or in life. The key is practice.
As you go about your daily routine, think about what makes you unique. Are you “putting on airs” or being the real you?