Unless you’re Mariah Carey, it’s a intimidating to say “I’m a singer”. I mean, someone might ask you whether you’ve got an album. Or [horrors!]
ask you to sing on the spot. Like, right now.
It can feel just as scary to say, “I’m a writer”.
We squirm, wondering what qualifies us to have the audacity to consider ourselves real writers.
Is it when we publish that first book? Is it when our blogs reach some magical number of followers or has a post that goes viral on Facebook?
In our capitalist society, the mark of legitimacy is often a paycheck. I mean, I may love to dabble in watercolor, but it’s hard to say “I’m a painter” unless someone is willing to plunk down cash for one of my pieces.
But technically, this describes an author.
A writer, when you distill the definition to its core, is simply one who writes.
I must diligently hack off the extra words that try to attach themselves like barnacles to this pure definition. Those extras turn “writer” into Professional Writer, Technical Writer, Popular Writer, Freelance Writer, or even Successful Writer. Descriptive? Maybe. But they can also set an impossible standard of success that can make me say, “oh no, not me. I’m not that.”
I must remind myself that no athlete began with a gold medal, and most never win one.
I have to zero in on the fact that I like writing, and that the joy of doing something should be enough to keep doing it.
I am a writer, not because I am the best writer the world has seen (ha!), or the most profound, or the most well-known or prolific, but because I choose return and turn my insides out again on a page.
I am a writer, not because I do it perfectly, but because I do it.
And as I operate in the truth of who I am, I will become.
Today I’m actually joining a larger discussion over at Kate Motaung’s blog about the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. I stumbled on the conversation last week as I browsed through my feed on Bloglovin’, and it scratched an itch I didn’t realize I had.
Lately, I’ve been doing some hard thinking about this writing thing. I’ve been asking myself some hard questions, like “why do I write anyway?”, “what are my motivations?”, and “what should my writing give you, the readers?”
More on that later. Thanks for coming along as I process. 🙂