I learned that there are many just like me, still trying to make their way through this crazy writing business, and that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s HARD. But one of the most powerful things that happened today came in the final session: someone in the audience asked a question about what the authors do when they just don’t feel like writing, and one of the authors had a very blunt answer. She said, “If you don’t like to write, don’t do it.”
Now, I know what the audience member meant- even if you love writing, there will be times that it can feel like a chore. But the author went on to say that nobody cares if you write except you. Your family and friends might encourage you, might cheer you on, but if you just gave up, life would go on. They might offer a few well-meaning inquiries, but if you just said, "Nah, I just decided not to," then nobody would yell at you. They would probably just shrug and say, “Oh, okay.” She said, “You have to write because you love to write, and if you love to write then it will work.”
For some reason, I had a gut check moment. I asked myself, “Do I love to write?” I thought for a second about my other interests- crafting, singing, playing the flute, running, riding horses, etc., and in an instant I knew that as much as I love all of these things, none of them is writing. Writing is something I have dreamed of doing ever since I figured out that putting letters together can make a word, and that putting words together can make a message, and that making messages can change people’s lives.
I remember being in 4th or 5th grade and being so riveted by a Lois Lowry book, “Number the Stars,” that I decided I wanted to be just like her- I wanted to write a book that would make people feel like that book made me feel. So I tried to write a book about the Holocaust. Clearly, that didn’t exactly work out for me, but a dream was born, and I have carried it with me ever since- sometimes actively, sometimes dormantly (yes, I just made up that word), but always there.
As all of these thoughts swirled through my head, I actually felt tears prick my eyes, I was so overcome with emotion. Maybe it was just because it was the end of a long day and I was tired, I don’t know- but something clicked inside me and I thought, I am a writer. I was born to do this- I was made to write.
Yes, it’s hard. And yes, I am a mother and a homemaker and right now is not the best time in my life to be pursuing a writing career, but I cannot help it. I have to write. It’s just who I am.
I am a writer.
(If you are a new writing friend that I just met at the conference today, I am so happy you came by to visit! Please leave a comment and say hello. It was a pleasure meeting and chatting with each and every one of you!)