This post was written for an online discussion group about the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker & Charity Singleton Craig and was linked up over at Kate Motaung‘s place.
Chapter 1 – Identify: I am a Writer.
What holds me back from calling myself “A Writer”? Maybe it’s because that sounds really… official… like a job or something. Like if I claim that title I must… you know… make money from doing it or something.
But what about when I’m “just” a person who needs to write in order to figure out my thoughts? Or who finds that writing is the best— and often the only— way for me to really truly express what’s going on inside myself?
I feel so awkward in real life. So often, when I’m with someone and I start to feel that inner tug to share my story with him or her… all I wish for is that I could just grab a keyboard and type it out for them. Or tell them to go read my last blog post. That way they’ll really hear what I’m trying to say. And that way they’ll get the edited, better organized, more intellectual-sounding, more efficient, more coherent version of what I want to impart to them.
Sure, I can speak it. But I’ll likely ramble on and on and on… and then eventually figure out what I’m trying to say and get to my point.
That’s one thing I love about writing: it saves my loved ones hours of having to listen to me ramble on and on as I search for how I really feel and what I’m really trying to say.
At church lately, we’ve been talking a lot about discipleship. About finding a few folks who are younger in the faith than ourselves and “adopting” them— inviting them to come alongside us and watch us live and ask us questions and impart to them whatever we’ve got in us to impart.
Sounds awesome and so totally necessary. (P.S. I am grateful that I recently found someone who has said she would do this for me. What a gift her mentoring has already been to me!)
But this idea of discipleship (being the mentor) is also… scary.
I’m not afraid of the part about hanging out with someone and letting them observe me and see my life— flaws and all. That I can do.
But the “imparting my wisdom” part of the process? Hmmm… I feel like that might best be done via writing for me. Good old fashioned letter-writing. Or via my blog. Or maybe someday in a book. Because when I talk? I feel like I just stumble all over everything and mess it up. Not all the time. Sometimes I’m pretty darn eloquent. But probably not if I haven’t ever taken the time to journal about it before. Figuring out what I want to say as I say it is… messy. And takes me a really long time to get there.
I guess that’s a big indicator that maybe I am “A Writer,” huh? If all a person wants to do every second of the day is either read or write or live meaningfully with others (and then go home and process through it in writing so that I can be better equipped the next time I’m out living meaningfully in the world)… I guess that’s a pretty good indication that I’ve got writing in my blood. It’s in my DNA. I simply can’t function properly without attaching words to all the chaos and emotion that are constantly swirling around my head and my heart.
I’ve just got to get it out on the page.
Even if no one else ever sees it. It’s got to get out there.
And if by some miracle of God He is able to use those written words to bless or encourage or inspire or bring comfort to someone else…?
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What about you?
Why do so many people who write struggle to claim the identity of a writer? Why do you write?
Please feel free to share your own journey in the comment section below.