I am a writer.
Can I just say that one more time? I am a writer.
I have a hard time owning that statement, probably because in the eyes of the world, I have nothing to back it up. When a stranger asks “what do you do?”, I freeze before mumbling some nonsense about property management and commercial real estate. It always comes out like an apology, like I’m sorry for wasting their time with my dull answer. Really, I think I’m apologizing to myself for lying.
Because I’m a writer. I write. Constantly. I’m in my head most of the day and all of the night. I put words on a page almost every day, usually the old fashioned pen-and-paper way.
I craft worlds and nurture characters and explore life’s questions. When I’m stuck–when I hold a pen and my mind is blank–I feel like my soul is dead. Panic sets in and I start to sink into the depths of despair. Writing is that all-encompassing for me.
Sure, I get paid to sit in an office and make sure the lights are on in people’s workspaces. I type up service contracts and submit invoices for payment and answer phones.
But property management doesn’t consume me. It doesn’t make me get up in the morning (if anything, it makes me snuggle deeper under the covers). It doesn’t drive me. So why do I let it define me when answering the age old “what is it you do?” question?
Probably because I know the follow up question would be “Oh, what do you write?” or “Anything I might have heard of?”. And the answer to the first would lead to the terrifying scenario of me describing my current work-in-progress the only way I can: in the lame, detached voice one must use to protect the core of her heart from unnecessary exposure. The answer to the second would end the conversation abruptly with a self-deprecating “not yet,” which is far more preferable than shouting “I’M WORKING ON IT!” even though that’s the real answer. Like, relax world, I’ll get your stupid validation eventually.
But I’ve made up my mind to own who I am: I’m a writer. Maybe I’ll be published someday, maybe I’ll only write stories for myself, but regardless, I write. It’s what I do.
And now, in answer to those follow up questions, I guess I can say I have this blog. Even if it only has one reader (hi, Mom).