I’ve been trying since I posted that first post to come up with something brilliant and impressive and insightful, but so far I’ve got nothing. I think it’s because I’m afraid. What do I have to offer the all-knowing Internets? Nothing you guys can’t already google. Nothing brilliant writers and teachers haven’t already said in a hundred better ways than I could. I want to post about writing, but what do I know? Am I really a writer? When do you give yourself that title, “Writer,” like it’s your official job? When do you know?
At first I think I was waiting for someone to walk up, shake my hand, and say in a game-show announcer voice, “You’ve completed steps A, B, and C! Congratulations, Writer! You are X amount of years from a publishing contract!” Then there would be confetti and applause and I’d cry and wave and run around shrieking, “I knew it! This is my DESTINY!”
Yeah, right. When we first start out, there isn’t any external validation. That’s part of why being a writer is so hard. It’s all you with that blank screen, watching the cursor blink, blink, blink like it’s tapping its tiny virtual foot. How are you supposed to know if you’re any good? Yeah, mom and friends will tell you that you are, but I’ve never really believed them.
Then I realized: it doesn’t matter how good I am. What matters is that I write and I love it. I get a thrill from making things up in my head and putting them on paper. For a long time I told myself that I don’t have to do this. I can quit writing anytime, and if it doesn’t work out I won’t be devastated. That’s a lie. I’m a writer because it makes me happy, because I write so much that the keys on my keyboard are worn smooth, and because I want to be.
What do you think? What makes a person a writer? On a related note, when can someone call themselves an author?