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 okayâ€”as long as, ultimately, I keep writing. As long I am someone who writes, I’m claiming the title of Writer.