What defines being a writer? Am I a writer because I sit at home and blog about the things that are weighing down on me? Thoughts that I have been trying to process internally, and haven’t been able to file them away in my emotional and mental cabinet?
Every couple of months I have a family member of friend ask me how my writing is going. For a few brief moments my heart starts to pound, my breath catches in my throat as I scramble to make up some elaborate story about how I am plugging away on a much anticipated novel, story, play, script, etc. Well, I don’t normally lie, I am honest and say I have been blogging.
Mostly because, I am NOT plugging away at a novel.
What I am doing is minimally plugging away at this blog. Again, writing about little things that I am thinking about. Topics friends have asked me to discuss, and I would much rather write publicly than write a personal email that will be deleted once the information has been shared (you see, I am proud of the work I do).
I know I should feel flattered that people are interested and invested in what I have to say and write, but in the swirling mix of my own thoughts, I wonder what everyone’s expectation is about this anticipated writing.
I would never say that I have given up on my dream to be a writer, but I have a fear that pursuing a job that involves daily writing will rob me of the joy I find in writing for my own mental exercise. Not only that, but I know that I have an issue with the grammatical use of commas. A fine, scarring detail, burned into me through extensive and intensive years as a graduate student.
I also know that in the twilight hours I spend alone in my home, with my happy yellow lab at my feet, I long for the words to pour forth and a story to emerge. Sometimes I have one, sometimes I don’t. I guess that is the problem with being a creative person, we are all perfectionists hoping and praying to create the next 50 Shades of Grey (Let’s be real people, this is more realistic than hoping and praying to be the next Rowling; and yes, I would settle for pop culture popularity- sorry Mom!). I don’t want to write something I don’t think would be good, or at the very least publishable.
I am sure I am not the only person that seems to think this. I mean, we wouldn’t have thousands of bloggers out there if that was the case, right? Aren’t we all just trying to share our experience and practice our craft..and maybe just hoping and praying that what we have to say goes viral and we are offered a book deal. Am I right? Anyone? It’s okay to admit to this.
There are few things I know to be certain about my life. But these are the things that I do know: I am incredibly loved, I am blessed in so many thousands of little and big ways for the life I am leading, I am not a very good teacher (truth), and I was meant to be a writer.
These are the things I don’t know: If I will ever get published or if anyone will ever connect with what I have to say. These are the greatest two struggles I think every artist faces.
While I have gone on about my own struggles and hang ups, I guess the reason I am writing is just like always. To practice and express the desire within me. I recently read my very first Maya Angelou book. I feel sad that it has taken me this long to read any of her writing, but I am glad that I did. One of the things that struck me most was that she always wrote by hand first, something that is my preference, and that she had hang ups but continued to write. She just sat down and would write. In Letter to My Daughter Angelou says,
“When I decide to write anything, I get caught up in my insecurity despite the prior accolades. I think, uh, uh, uh, now they will know I am a charlatan that I really cannot write and write really well. I am almost undone, then I pull out a new yellow pad and as I approach the clean page, I think how blessed I am.”
I would have never thought that a woman so inspiring, a woman who has a Pulitzer Prize, has writing insecurities.
While I don’t think that anything on this blog is anywhere close to Pulitzer level, I do feel inspired to answer the call. If I truly am a writer, or a person who wishes to be, I need to stop putting my own roadblocks up. I am sure that there are already enough obstacles to face, like finishing an entire story, attempting to get published, etc. The easiest job I have is to just write. The rest is out of my hands.
Maybe I should just follow Maya Angelou’s example, and start by thinking of how blessed I am.
Until Next Time,
Pocket Owl Press