One day I looked up from behind and between a myriad of mini piles of papers covered in words and realized that I’ve always been writing. I’ve always made stories in my head, written letters out in my mind when I was suppose to be asleep and composed poetry as I worked. I’ve scribbled ideas, and rhymes in the margins of my homework for as long as I was in school.
I’ve always written, but I have never been brave enough to claim the title of Writer. I think I should tell you why: Really being a writer isn’t easy.
there is no pretending. Not everyone who writes is a writer, plain and simple. I think that most real writers realize that in stepping up and saying “I am a writer”, it strips away any cloaks or any place to hide. You can’t pretend to be good. You either are or you aren’t, and people will judge you by what they expect a writer to be. Honestly, that can be scary.
it gets inside your head. You can’t get away from words as a writer. You will forever be haunted by the mental pen and paper that composes, takes notes, and writes, always writes no matter where you are or what you are doing. It won’t take consideration for your need to concentrate or for the fact that it will be hours before you have a chance to write. It will just string together words incessantly, and usually it’ll come out pretty good. None of these compositions, however, you are likely going to be able to recreate quite as well when you actually do have time to write.
writing isn’t always glamorous. That image of a writer sitting at a well organized desk, cup of tea, and a beautiful view outside the window? That’s perhaps 1% of a Writer’s Reality. Put together or not, organized or not—beautiful words often have unglamorous beginnings that those who read them never see. The writer is forever bogged down with loads of papers and drafts that are the beginnings of stories or are memories that can’t be thrown away. There are sticky notes stuck in odd places, and poetry written on the backs of old envelopes and receipts. There are ink stained fingers and eyes that are too tired from staring at the screen for long periods of time. And that desk? It may or may not exist.Then there is that over-sized purse for holding the essentials: a notebook, several pens (in case one dies, of course) and the latest inspirational read (or two). Hopefully you can find your keys in there and maybe you’ll have room for your wallet if you are lucky.
there is no magic involved. At least not in the writing. The idea that all beautiful writing flows effortlessly like poetry from a Writer’s fingertips—that’s another myth. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the magic is in the fact that it actually got written at all. Behind almost every good bit of writing are bits of sleepless nights, frustratingly long blank pages, lots and lots of deleting, some sweat and likely even a good deal of tears. In other words, writing takes work. Except for that one percent of the time when it doesn’t.
perfectionism will attack. A writer should always strive for greater perfection, but should never allow perfectionism turn to fear or allow it keep them from writing what needs to be written. But because a writer writes things that other people will read, it is easy to forget that the reasons why you write aren’t to be perfect, but to share.
it makes you vulnerable. A writer can craft a picture of their world through the words they write. To some extent they can control the vision of who you see when you read their words. However, a real writer’s words are often deeply personal. No matter how hard you may try, a little bit of your heart always spills out into your words. To send them out into the public eye is like like opening a door to your heart and to let yourself be vulnerable in a way that those who don’t write may never understand. It be hard to stand behind your words as the author, and not be moved a little bit by praise or by censure. This is certain: to write is to risk being hurt. It is to open your heart to rejection and criticism (because you can be sure once you are really writing, it’ll happen) and yet not be afraid to keep on writing.
From the middle of those papers that day, I realized what I was afraid of. I realized that it wasn’t the work, or the vulnerability. I don’t mind my piles of paper (though I do try to keep them neat and tidy!) and I’m only a little sorry that there’s not magic wand for writers.
The reason I’ve never felt brave enough to call myself a writer is because I am afraid of one thing:
It is a hundred times easier to be an obscure little scribbler of words than to call yourself writer and make silly typos and write things that don’t always sound beautiful.
It is easier to craft words and hide behind an excuse than to write and maybe be the writer who failed.
But today, I want to say that I am a Writer. I see this world through a filter of words and sentences and through lines of poetry.
It was infinitely easier to write when I started this blog years ago and no one was watching than it was the day I stumbled across the “followers” page and saw that scary number looking back at me. When I realized that others were watching, I felt like I had to live up to something big and accomplished, instead of just writing because head is always filled with words.
I constantly remind myself that success is not measured by outward things or by the acceptance of the World Wide Web at large. Success for me is writing, just writing because this is what I was meant to do.
I am not a perfect Writer, and I may never write a best seller or have a blog read by thousands. But this isn’t why I write, anyway.
I write to share a story of God’s faithfulness. I write to share my journey, and I want Him to be honored and glorified by this record of my life.
I write because when I do, I feel that I am doing what I was meant to do: to be a writer of words just because.
I am a Writer. And by His grace, I will keep writing, even when it isn’t easy.