It’s the maiden voyage of my shiny new writing vessel. Let’s crack a bottle of Moët & Chandon on this bad boy and see if it’s seaworthy, shall we? Drinks for everyone!
Here’s the first thing I want to say: I am a writer.
And here’s the second thing: I am not a writer.
I am not a writer, because I don’t write. I have a day job where I do create some written documents, but this mostly involves performing a cut and paste of concise, pre-approved language. I don’t write creatively, for myself, anymore. I don’t write, because it’s hard. (Everyone who writes will tell you this. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and should not be trusted.) I don’t write, because I’m afraid I’ll fail or be rejected or told I’m bad at it. I don’t write, because I know for a fact I’ve gotten rusty. I don’t write, because instead I love television. Like many others, I have a smartphone addiction. I occasionally hit the gym (where I watch television on my phone). I take dance classes. I go shopping, and I go out to restaurants for catch-up meals with friends. I trudge through (and often get overwhelmed by) the daily duties of adulthood – cleaning, doing laundry, paying bills, having more than popcorn and gin for dinner (Popcorn & Gin – next blog name – called it). Instead I do everything else EXCEPT creative writing, because everything else is easier than writing. And I don’t make time for it, even though I love it. It nags at me with puppy dog eyes and I numbly scroll through Facebook on my iPhone and mumble something about “…busy right now, but maybe later, ok, buddy?”
In short, I don’t write, because it’s super easy not to. I am not a writer.
But I am a writer.
I am a writer because I just am one. I have always been one. It’s a part of my DNA, like being tall, or having brown eyes, or hating country music. In first grade, I won a school-wide writing award for my heartwarming six-page tale of the adventures of our classroom Guinea Pig, Patches. When my family got our first household computer I spent weeks writing a novella about four friends who spent a summer at a horse ranch in Oregon. [Footnote: I have never been to Oregon nor have I owned a horse, and as a result I had to do extensive pre-Internet research using our Encarta encyclopedia software to ensure factual accuracy.] As a teenager I loved reading mysteries, and tried my hand at my own: when I finished my gripping 60-page novel, “Curtains,” I “bound” it in a report folder and embossed a fake copyright inside the front cover with my stamp set. I basically pioneered self-publishing.
I am a writer, because I majored in English in college (publishing) and then grad school (literature) so that I could study the writing of others, and hone my own voice, and be broke for a while. My first post-school jobs were at publishing houses, where I enjoyed the romance of pouring through manuscripts but learned that it’s very lonely work and I am a social person who wants to tell you all about the latest (recipe, show, song) that she’s addicted to while you nod politely.
I am a writer, because I tried National Novel Writing Month and came this close to getting all the way to the full 50,000 words and a complete mental breakdown. I am a writer, because I come up with novel ideas when I go on long drives or take shamefully lengthy showers. And when it’s quiet in the house on a Sunday and I have a cup of coffee next to me and my cat is sleeping on my lap and a word document is open in front of me, sometimes the gears turn and the words come out. I get excited moving things around for flow, coming up with a great metaphor, finding the right tone, imagining what happens next.
My soon-to-be husband is a stand-up comedian at night (and a stand-up guy all the time) who suggested that we have couples’ writing time. Not writing time with other couples, that’s too kinky for me, honestly, but time when we as a couple sit down and work on our own projects. He’s working on his jokes, and I’m working on not not writing. I’m working on this blog, which I guess is just going to be about me, and all the things I do that aren’t writing, and hopefully some of the writing I am doing. It may not be good, and I guess that’s ok. I may fail in front of you, and that’s also ok. I may only write this post, and then quit on it because an editor saw it and decided to give me a book deal based on this ONE BLOG ENTRY, and that would really be ok.
I’m not a writer, and I’m a writer. And if you’ve been using this post as a drinking game, you are now drunk, and you are welcome.