Ok. I’m going to say it. Just…just promise not to laugh, ok? And promise not to roll your eyes.
Here it is: I’m writing a novel.
Whew. Glad to get that off my chest! What a relief.
And I don’t mean I am writing a novel, vaguely. I’ve decided: this is the year. I’m going to finish my novel. I’m going to rewrite it to death into the best possible version of what I can make. And then I’m going to start the publishing process. I’m committed.
I guess I’ve had a bit of a turning point in the last six months. When I was younger, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a writer. But I was unconvinced of it. It was always what I wanted to be as an adult, not what I was going to be. And even as a (sort of) adult, it remained some hazy idea that I was unsure I could solidify. I didn’t know if I could make it happen.
So what changed? My attitude, I guess. I started thinking about writing more, in large part thanks to NaNoWriMo. It slowly started to seep into my consciousness in a solid way that the only think that separates authors from aspiring authors is a bit (okay, a lot) of time, sweat, and effort. The only thing that keeps me from being a novelist is, well, writing a novel.
The words of a favorite creative writing teacher I had come to mind, again and again: “A writer is someone who writes,” he said. And it’s stuck with me, because it’s not, “A writer is someone who writes 2,000 words a day,” or “writes for 78 hours a week,” ” has written a novel,” “is published,” or, “has written a best-seller.” Nope.
A writer is someone who writes.
To me, that means that mentally committing yourself to the act of writing makes you a writer. Committing to my writing, as something I’m going to make a priority: that makes me a writer. Sitting down and taking the time to write, no matter how long, how often, or how much, makes me a writer.
I get to decide for myself what being a writer means. Do I need writing snacks? Do I need to write first thing in the morning? Is my writing time blocked out by elaborate routines and rituals? I dunno. Maybe. If that helps. But my writing efforts will look different than others’. It will be unique to me. I’ll have my own crazy writer moments. And all of that is okay—as long as, ultimately, I keep writing. As long I am someone who writes, I’m claiming the title of Writer.