I am a writer. I may be a disorganized writer, an infrequent writer, and a writer who dreams up fantastical scenarios that I’m currently unwilling to commit to paper but at my core I’m a writer all the same. A writer with flaws, sure, but what writer can say they are without them.
For some reason, it’s hard to admit publicly to the first statement. Through the veil of online anonymity, I can claim whatever I want about myself but if you were to ask me personally what I like to do, what I truly like to do, I’ll turn my head this way and that, pull at my shirt collar and say in a very small voice that I dabble in writing. When you ask what kind of writing, my voice will shrink further and I’ll reply the very general appellation of fiction.
Is this shame? Is this embarrassment? Yes and no. As I may have admitted various times here, I’m a very private person. I can get into various conversations with other people about their lives but when I become the topic of the conversation, I’m suddenly very uncomfortable. As I’m writing this, that familiar weight at the bottom of my stomach becomes very pronounced as I struggle to find the words and confidence to confide such a personal detail. My writing is very personal.
I hoard my writing like a dragon hoards treasure in a deep dark cave. I won’t breathe fire at you if you come wandering into my domain. Instead, I’ll look upon my riches and tell you that they aren’t worth much. If you want fame and glory, you should perhaps check out the dragon keep next door because if you bring my gold to the light of day, it will reveal itself to be nothing but gold painted rust.
I don’t truly believe that but at the same time I do. People tell me all the time that my writing’s pretty good but I never quite believe them. I don’t feel like I put enough dedication and time in my writing so they’re obviously telling me that to make me feel better about myself. I submit every essay I’ve ever written to class with the strong belief that this here is the worst essay I’ve ever written to date. To my utter shock and amazement, it gets a better grade than I expect.
And then, if that weren’t enough, I set a hierarchy within my own types of writing. Fiction stays on top. That’s the writing I should always try for in my free time because that’s the best that I’ve got. This type of writing, the writing you are writing currently, the confessional nonfiction type, is held to a far lower bar. Of course, it’s easy to crank out this writing. Anyone could do it. And why would you want to talk about yourself anyway, mam? What could you possibly say that is the least bit interesting? Set aside your incoherent babble and rack your brain around something useful. What? You can’t think of anything else? Well, go on and waste your writing time, then.
Well, you savage inner critic, I’ve had enough of your writing elitism. All writing is good writing. Even incoherent babble is good writing and it’s far better than staring at the ceiling simply wishing an idea would drop on my head like a magic spell. It’s because of you that I ultimately give up and write nothing at all.
And so what if I haven’t written something in say, a year? If someone should come up to me and ask me what I like to do it would still be writing (I mean sure, I may say reading first but the hobbies are pretty neck and neck in frequency and enjoyment). So yes, to reiterate the point, I’m a writer. I could still learn so much more about writing but I’m not going to get there if I stand in one spot simply wishing for my writing to improve. Instead of hoarding it like a surly dragon, I should unearth my treasure to the world. Someone out there might read it and if only one person could enjoy it, well, that’s enough for me.