Carl Reiner said that this was the key to being a good writer

"Every character you create is part of yourself."

Just for the record, when Carl Reiner was a young man, he, like the rest of us, wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Reiner confessed, "I'd rather have been a baseball pitcher than anything." He likened the feeling of watching a baseball game to attending church, and explained, "There is time to think and ruminate." 

Luckily for us, Reiner was a better writer than he was a baseball player, which means that instead of pursuing a career in sports, he chose to become a writer in show business. In spite of the career change, Reiner was able to express his love of writing in the interview. He said, "The thing I get the most satisfaction from is anything that I start as a blank page in a typewriter, and then follow all the way through, whether it's a book, a play, or a film."

Reiner was also able to offer a bit of homegrown advice to those looking to follow in his footsteps and become a writer. He said that there was one integral quality a writer must possess.

Reiner said, "It really boils down to whether you can learn to understand yourself and not lie about yourself." He explained, "Every writer really is writing about himself. Every character you create is part of yourself. And if you can't understand yourself, how can you understand others?"

The Dick Van Dyke Show creator revealed that originally, he assumed that the key to a good writer was to be a wordsmith of sorts, a thought that made him self-conscious as a younger man. He said, "I had been such a poor student in school that I hesitated trying anything at all serious. I felt I didn't know enough words to become a real writer."

Reiner said that with the help of his wife, he was able to overcome that fear. He said, "She convinced me that it wasn't important whether I knew a lot of long words, only whether I knew the right words."

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6 Comments

Pacificsun 7 months ago
Article is very true.

To be satisfactory is to set aside self-consciousness and focus on the heart. As in, is this something I'd want to read.
ncadams27 7 months ago
Writing for Sid Caesar and working along with Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, and Woody Allen might have helped him sharpen his skills.
Runeshaper 7 months ago
Carl Reiner was a genius! So was his wife!

"...it wasn't important whether I knew a lot of long words, only whether I knew the right words." (-:
cperrynaples 7 months ago
It should be noted that Reiner had a writers room which included a young Garry Marshall, who later created Happy Days & Laverne & Shirley! And of course Morey Amsterdam supplied most of the Buddy Sorell wisecracks!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 7 months ago
You mean he was talented because he surrounded himself with talent. (Smiley Face)!
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