I am a writer.
That sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Important even. It sounds like I have the art of word crafting all figured out. I am disciplined with my writing, setting aside time to create my master pieces. It means that I am published and selling thousands, no millions of copies of my amazingly sophisticated novel. My name is on the top seller list in the New York Times, of course. I have mysterious secrets about my writings that are debated in lit circles worldwide; and a secret spot where I go to spin my tales, where the creative energy flows through me best, like a rushing river in the spring time.
How I wish that were all true! The truth is that most of the time I don’t own up to the fact that I write. I don’t talk about it and have a hard time promoting my writing. On the bus that is my life, my writing ends up at the back, staring out the window waiting for me to pull over and give it some good quality time that it deserves. I am a mom and wife first, with a full time job. My writing ends up looking more like a hobby, even though my passion for it is rooted deep inside of me.
With all that said I am still a writer. I write because I adore it. I write because I want to get better with every piece I complete. I have dreams that I need to be fulfilled and a legacy to leave behind. And I write because, well, I am pretty darned good at it.
Before you think I am being pompous or the furthest thing from humble, hear me out. I have been told that I can build a scene like nobody’s business. Using details to paint an image in my reader’s head to take them directly to the place I am writing about. I have also been told that I am good at pacing. It is important to know your strengths and cling to them, as well as knowing where you can improve in your craft.
Truth be told, I am lousy at a number of things. This sounds depressing, but bare with me. I had the honor to hear Markus Zusak, the author of The Book Thief speak this winter. He spoke about his failures in his writing and how he overcame that. My first thought was, He is a bestselling author…he can’t have failures. He said that he wrote The Book Thief a number of times before he felt it was right. Hearing him say this brought such relief to my heart. If an amazing author like Mr. Zusak can mess up and admit that he needs to work on things, then there is hope for a writer like me. It means that all writers have things to work on and improve upon. Instead of getting down on myself for my much needed improvements, I decided to turn them into goals. I believe starting with small goals is the key. Small steps make the task seem doable.
First thing first, I need to make my writing a priority. No more ‘back of the bus’. My writing has to be a daily occurrence. I don’t mean that I have to spend hours in my day typing away on my keyboard, but I need to be doing something. This could be as simple as journaling every night about my family or recording my thoughts of the day. I could simply pick one moment and describe it in detail. Or even find a book of writing prompts to challenge myself. I can do a great deal of writing in 30 minutes. Good or bad, at least it’s writing.
Moments of random brilliant thoughts pop into my head often – a line that I know I have to use in my book or an idea for a story. The flaw in this is that I have a terrible memory. I always think that I will remember it because it is far too amazing to forget. This is pure foolishness on my part. With all my every day roles, my brain will release that great idea into the abyss of fabulous lost thought. My second goal is tied to helping my rotten memory. And guess what? There’s an app for that! No really, there is an app for everything. I found a voice recording app that I can speak my thoughts into. I also carry a small notebook and pencil with me at all times so my bases are covered. Seems easy enough to do; now I just have to remember utilize these tools to help my success.
I figure there are only two paths for me on this writing journey; failure and success. Failure is not an option. Fighting for my goals and my dreams will lead me to where I want to be as a writer. If my dreams are bigger than my excuses then anything is possible. After all, I am a writer, remember. I get to decided how this story ends.