Monday, January 7, 2013

I am a Writer. Are you?

I am a writer.

Not an aspiring writer. Not a wanna-be-writer. Not a “Someday” writer.

I am a writer. Right here. Right now.

Why? Because after years of being told so by others who believed in me, I decided it was time I started believing it myself. I may not be able to hold a published book in hand. I may not have gone on any press junkets to promote my latest project. But I am a writer.

If you’re reading this post, chances are it’s because You are a Writer, too!

I became a writer at the age of five when I decided I was going to help my dad write the newsletter for the computer store he was running at the time. The pages consisted of the same up-and-down scribbles that cartoon characters have no trouble reading, in fact, it looked exactly like the story my cousin’s 5-year-old daughter read to me the other night. She’d written it herself and it was filled with all sorts of danger.

I started legibly writing down songs I knew, stories about my life (real and imagined), and poems when I entered second and third grade. In fourth grade I received first prize for a story I wrote for an Arbor Day Contest. It was my first and only blue ribbon growing up.

Looking back, I’ve always been a writer. I just had a faulty understanding of the what a writer is.

A writer is someone who writes. Not someone who is published and famous.

Some of the best writers of all time never found success in their lifetime. Consider Franz Kafka. His Metamorphosis is one of the most taught pieces of literature in college now, but when he wrote it….

I can’t forget Miss “I am Nobody, Who are You?” Emily Dickenson who had a few poems published in her lifetime, but the publishers significantly altered each prior to printing them.

And then there is the celebrated Jane Austin whose work had gone on to be one of the more recent entries in the Zombie Craze.

Others writers were widely read but died penniless. Edgar Allen Poe was found wandering drunk, babbling, and in “borrowed” clothes just before he died in 1849, and the celebrated Herman Melville’s passing was noted by a single newspaper in which he was referred to as a “long-forgotten author.”

Of course, writers aren’t the only one assailed by such a curse. It’s one of the risks we take when we pursue the life we dream of. But pursue it I will, just the same. This year I resolve not to be published (as I have in years past). My goal isn’t to become famous. My purpose is to write. And to write well.

Recognition is all well and good, but it’s not evenly remotely possible if the extent of my writing life is limited to thinking that “Someday I’ll be a writer.” I have to choose to be a writer today. And so, my friend, do you!

“So let it be written. So let it be done.”

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