“I do want to
start writing,” the author said in the workshop, “but I want to write fiction.
I’m a storyteller. I’m having trouble getting started writing my stories.”
Just because
somebody can cook a great hamburger doesn’t mean they are ready to open a
restaurant. And just because someone can tell a great story doesn’t mean they
can write those stories in a way that can be published. There are skills required
to take a story into the proper written form, skills that can be mastered but
ones that must be mastered to be successful.
I’m one of those
writers myself. I don’t consider myself a writer, but a storyteller trying to
write my stories in such a way as to be entertaining. Virtually every time I
tell somebody I’m a writer the people I’m talking to say, “I’ve always wanted
to write a book,” or “I have all these great experiences that people keep
telling me I should write down, “ or something of the sort. My response is
always the same, “so, why haven’t you?”
It is true that
some may not be able to do it, but what’s the worst that can happen by trying?
We end up with some cute stories we can pass down to our family. And it may
well be that there will be Pulitzer Prize caliber stories that are never
written because the one person who could have written them never tried.
What does it take
to be a writer? You just write. That’s it. A writer writes. Now to become a
published writer, that takes a lot more, and to sustain yourself at it to the
point where you can claim to be an author is still further up the tree. 
Do you have to
wait until you get old and beat up like I am before you can start? Absolutely
not. There are great markets even now that publish young writers. I published
some poetry and some articles while I was still in high school. How do you get
published in these markets? The same way all writers get published, you submit
to them with a carefully worded letter, and you endure the rejection letters
from all the places that don’t want your work until you find the one that does
like every other writer that ever lived. 
At any given time
our work may only fit at one place in the whole publishing industry. But as
soon as that opportunity closes, now it only fits at one place but that place
is somewhere else. It’s like the skit that used to happen at the end of the old
“Laugh In” show. People opening and closing windows while trading lines. That’s
a perfect picture of the publishing industry. Or for those who do not remember
that old show I’m sure you have seen the whack-a-mole game. It’s the same
principle.
You see, it’s not
always about how good the writing is – even a great piece can be too early or
too late. or they just did one like it, or not a good fit for the publisher,
etc. It’s like assembling a puzzle, and all of the pieces have to be in place
for publication to occur.