Who Are You?

I’m a writer. There I said it. And the world is still turning. My knees may be shaking, I may have a lump in my throat, but at least I set out to do what I intended. And that was to identify myself as a writer.

For years when people have asked me “What do you do?” I’ve had various answers. Depending on when the question was asked, I was a student, a waitress, a receptionist, a camera operator at a tv station, a technical writer, a web developer, a massage therapist, and of course a mom. But the one answer that was always lingering in the background for so many years has been the most elusive one to come out of my mouth and that is a writer. Yes, I know I mentioned being a technical writer in my list of titles, and I was for a short time. But writing manuals about how to use tax software, well that’s not what I aspired to write, and that actually turned into my becoming a web developer after just a couple of months. So I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself a writer then.

There was one time I was flying somewhere by myself and my seatmate struck up a conversation. Of course one of the standard questions after are you going to xyz destination for business or pleasure, is, what do you do?  I actually said then I was a writer. His response was what have you written? Suddenly I was tongue tied. I had been writing this blog for a while, and some years ago wrote for my high school paper. Do letters to the editor count, I thought. Once I was finally able to corral my thoughts I feebly answered “I write a blog and am working on a novel, but nothing’s been published yet.” The conversation turned to other topics after that, and the butterflies that were trying to escape my stomach finally subsided too.  But ever since then, this one random encounter with a stranger, will come back to mind at the strangest of times.

Most recently was this morning, in the shower. Some of my best ideas come to me during that time. Probably because I’m not distracted by anything else, no one is wanting my attention, the sound of the water pretty much drowns out anything else going on around me. It gives me a chance to think, to let my mind wander, for ideas to germinate, or grocery lists to be formed. This morning however, I had an entire dialogue with myself about who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. (Okay, those of you that know me personally know I’m approaching my 50th birthday, and no I haven’t yet grown up 🙂 I doubt I ever will.) But what I took away from this conversation with myself is that if I don’t believe myself when I say I’m a writer, who else will? I’ve been writing a book for going on 4 years now I think. It’s finally getting close to having the first full draft done. It’s well over 100,000 words now, at last count I think it was about 275 pages if it were published in paperback format. Of course there is a lot of editing that will need to happen before it’s even remotely ready to be read by the general population too.

But there it is. I’m putting this out in the universe, declaring and believing in myself, that I am indeed, a writer. And to that college professor all those years ago who told me I couldn’t and shouldn’t write, well yeah. You can use your imagination for what I’m saying to her now. Along with my inner critic, they are both relegated to somewhere else, not in my universe.

Now back to work.

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