I’ve always written.
As early as four years old, I’d create little books that folded into multiple pages and I’d illustrate and write the story. When I was around seven or eight, I’d carry a notebook with me to restaurants and write stories while my parents talked. In the fourth grade, I took an extracurricular class where I wrote a book and bound it. That book got me into a weekend writers conference for other elementary school students.
And if I wasn’t writing books I was reading books. Stacks and stacks and stacks of books.
Somehow along the way, I lost my faith in myself as a writer. In college, I minored in English. And while I got A’s on all my English papers, I struggled in my fictional creative writing class. Everyone else was better than I was…more creative. I got intimidated. I shelved writing for good.
But the love of it never went away.
The need of it never went away.
I need to write in order to gain clarity. If I see a movie that challenges me, I have to write to organize my thoughts. If I read a book that stirs me, writing helps me categorize my feelings. If I’m struggling with a spiritual issue, writing is my prayer and God responds in the process.
It’s what I do.
But I would have never, ever, EVER called myself “a writer.” Not qualified enough. Not gifted enough.
Just not enough…never, ever enough.
* * *
I started reading a new book. It’s called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins.
This book is kicking my tail.
“You are a writer. You just need to write.”
“The truth was much simpler. When do you become a writer? ‘When you say you are,’ he said.”
“Before others will believe what is true about you, you’ll have to first believe it yourself.”
He talks about how writers (and other creative artists) feel as though their true passion is something they long to do, but don’t feel they can do. The problem is, they don’t call themselves what they are. Instead, the life they long to live is at odds with the one they’re actually living.
The solution, however, is simple. Call yourself a writer (or an artist or a dancer). And then write (or paint or dance).
* * *
It feels conceited to say I’m a writer. Like somehow the world will stand up and shout, “Oh really, you think you can write? I’ll show you a real writer!” or ” How are you qualified to write?”
If those fears don’t shame me, then it’s the taunting whispers of “but you’re not published” and “no one follows you” or “you’re not educated enough” that plague me.
One stumbling block after another — one brick wall after another.
You’re just not enough…never, ever enough.
* * *
I’m trying to diminish the power these walls and stumbling blocks have over me. Because the truth is I know what I love and I know what I do. And I can let fear paralyze me. OR, I can proclaim it boldly (with just a small bit of nervousness):
I’m a writer.
So I’m going to act like one.
And I’m going to write.