I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Friday, May 3, 2013
"I'm a Writer?"
So we did some training, we got to know each other a little bit, and then during the inevitable lull in the evening (this is a hotel front desk, where there are lots of lulls, wedged in between spurts of hectic check-ins and back-to-back phone calls) I pulled out my laptop to check in on my other career. I weighed the wisdom of disclosure. I can't think of anything more facetious than declaring to a perfect stranger, "Oh, and by the way, I'm a writer." So I checked my FB pages and my sales reports, and peeped at my WiP just to be sure it's still there, and I said nothing.
This is something I've had real trouble with from the beginning--calling myself a writer, or even admitting that I was sitting at the computer for hours at a time. I remember in the very beginning, when I was sure the flow of words would dry up just as it had so often before, I didn't even tell my family what I was doing. I tried to pretend they wouldn't notice or think it was strange that I had disappeared yet again. One night my son came in very late to find me typing away, and he gave me one of those looks, the one that said he knew I was up to something crazy again and he was almost afraid to ask what. But he did ask, "Mom, are you writing?" My answer was a kind of guilty giggle followed by "I think so."
Eventually, both my husband and son were "in" on the secret, but I still kept silent with everyone else. It was months before I told my closest friends, and then I made sure to let them know I never meant for what I was doing to go any further than my computer. Honestly, I didn't know quite how to describe what I was doing. I wasn't writing a book, I was just pouring words into a file, but as the months passed, it became clear those words were telling a story which my husband insisted someone else needed to read. Even when I approached the two friends he selected as most likely to give me an honest opinion, I could barely choke out the words "my book," much less say I had "written" such a thing.
It's gotten easier. I can now talk about myself as a writer without stammering. I can get really excited talking about the experience of writing and even more so about my readers. I can actually say, "I'm now working on my sixth title" without blushing. I'm keenly aware that proclaiming myself a writer doesn't make me one, that only a reader finding enjoyment in what I've written will prove that fact. Still, being able to tell someone about my new life as a writer is a lot more fun than I ever expected it to be. I hope I never get over having to pinch myself every time I say "I'm a writer," but I'm thankful to have reached the point where I almost believe it myself.