I am a writer

photo credit: mpclemens

photo credit: mpclemens

I am a writer.

Why is that so hard?  Why do we feel like we need to be published by a Big Publisher or have a Pulitzer Prize under our belts or 10,000 blog subscribers to feel like we are “real” writers?

I am a writer because I write.

I don’t always write well, I leave drafts unfinished sometimes and other times I barely manage to get ten words onto the “paper” (which is almost never actually paper anymore).  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head like a swarm of birds, but when I try to catch them, they slip away leaving feathery remnants drifting through the air.

Sometimes the words come pouring out.

It’s like a flood – a sudden tumultuous but somehow manageable stream of ideas all flowing together into a beautiful stream of logic and language.  And if I happen to be in a place where I can sit and let my fingers capture the flow, it ends up being 1000 words or more all in a rush with no editing required.

And then it dries up.

And

I

Can’t

Think

Of

One

Thing

To

Say.

Writing is not just for novels or articles.

Most of the volume of my writing is for work.  I might spend an hour crafting a single email to get across the point with a bit of nuance; to make understanding flow just from words.  There is power in a beautifully written sentence that manages to capture details with subtle efficiency.

Because I am a writer, I appreciate a clever turn of phrase or the artistry of a word choice.

Lovely writing comes through most often in the quiet variation of sentence structure and the delicate balance of not enough and too much.  I usually strip out at least half of what I’ve written after the draft is done, and the result is twice as good.  If you can’t tie one good knot, a long line of bad ones won’t help.

I love the bravery of other writers.

Good or bad, with occasionally cringe-worthy lapses of “there” instead of “their”, I still feel a compelling closeness to the courage that it takes to put out anything at all.  Even a single line written in public is an invitation to harsh criticism, judgment and complaint.  We all want to fly up into the stratosphere of artful prose, but instead sometimes we flounder in the shallows.  But every now and then we lift off, sometimes just for a moment, and we float in the lightness of the perfect idea, framed gently by an adjective, bolstered up by a creative preposition.

I am a writer because if I could not write, I would be less than me.

And if you think you might be a writer too, consider this your permission to say it out loud.

Keep writing…

12 thoughts on “I am a writer

  1. Great piece and you are so right. To not write is even worse than finding those initial words to write. I’m struggling at the moment because I want to show my writing but I don’t want to show my writing because the criticism might kill me! Silly, I know!

    • Thanks Sophie! It can be so hard to put things out there but start small, be brave, and maybe send it to just one or two people at first. The feedback will make it easier and will make your writing so much better. And even if you don’t put anything out into the world right now, keep writing anyway!

  2. So I’m sitting at my computer, trying to make the best of my self-allotted writing time, and I’ve got nothing. Discouragement perches on my shoulder as I go to my WordPress Reader for inspiration. Your post is at the top. I understand every word. I feel the tone. I tear up a little…and flick away discouragement like an insignificant fly.

    I’m not a big “blog person”. I don’t read very many and I’m learning my way around my own blog as I discover new things about what I want to communicate with my words. I’m grateful for your bravery. Thank you, Katy.

    • I think part of the problem is that we tend to write alone and so we feel like we are the only ones who worry, and the only ones who get stuck. We forget how hard it is, even for really good writers! So any time I feel stuck and it feels hard, I try to tell myself that means I’m doing it right! Thanks Ginny!

  3. Oh, I can sooo relate to this post! We are writers, aren’t we? Even without the world’s permission; even without congratulations…even without the world’s definition of “success”. We do what we do because we are who we are — we are who God created us to be and we can be no less. I think sometimes the ‘struggle’ part of being a writer makes us better writers still. Sometimes suffering can be the unlikeliest of muses, but oh, how potent. Thanks for this. :-)

    -M

    • Thanks Muhala – I love thinking about writing itself as a muse! It’s hard some days but so worth it and doubly lovely because it allows me to get to know other writers!

  4. Pingback: Happy Links: From a Simple Survery to The Tiny Life — go small, think big & be happy

  5. Super piece! I write, therefore I am a writer! I’ve been working on an article for a few days, and because I know it’s going to be published (so exciting!) I have got complete and utter writer’s block! I find the best way to get over it, is just to keep writing. WRITE WRITE WRITE, and when I came out of the writing daze, I discovered I’d written about 2,000 words. Now it’s editing time. :)

    I love this sentence that you wrote: “I usually strip out at least half of what I’ve written after the draft is done, and the result is twice as good. If you can’t tie one good knot, a long line of bad ones won’t help.”

    Keep up the great work,

    Katie.

  6. I write nearly every day, mostly for myself and sometimes for others to see. In the back of my mind I wish I could be a ‘real writer’ who is seen on a larger scale with more important topics to write about. In my mind that is what makes someone a ‘real writer.’ But then I read your line “I am a writer because if I could not write, I would be less than me” and it struck me deeply. How true that is! If I could not write I would feel less complete, less expressive, less myself. This was a wonderfully thought provoking post.

    • Thanks – Kristin! I thought for a long time that I needed someone’s approval to call myself a writer but I know now that I just need to write. Glad you liked the post, and keep writing!

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