To Call Myself a Writer








Everyone and their dog want to be a writer. Being a writer, it would seem to the vast majority of people, is easy enough. Bang out a few thousand words and get paid squillions of dollars and get the story made into a Hollywood movie.  I’m equally sure you’ve heard the saying that in each person there is one good story to tell. So many people say I’m going to write a book but there is a one caveat; they are going to write a book – one day.

That was me for a long time.

I was one of those people. I would read a story and think, “I could do that,” or, “good grief, if that got published, why shouldn’t one of my stories?”

 Because I was the kid whose mother would buy 15 – 20 books for a huge Christmas present parcel and by the end of the six week summer holiday  they would all be read – and some twice over already.  I was the kid who thought going to the public library was the most exciting thing ever; the one who had the torch and read under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping at night.

But for some reason, the older I got the less I trusted that spark of desire within me that called to me to write. I pushed it away, deeming it childish and completely impossible for the likes of me. Who on earth was I to think that I could actually write something that would be good enough to be published?

Of course, the pull towards writing down the adventures that happened in my head remained constant, and I would spend a quiet hour or two, putting pen to paper over the years. But it wasn’t until this year, several months before my last 30-something  birthday, that I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t do something about this nagging dream to write, that I should shut up telling people I was going to write a book one day and move on with my life.

Cut to February 2009.

I gave myself the challenge of writing the first shitty draft (as Anne Lamott would urge) by the end of the year. I actually finished writing the draft by hand in a couple of notebooks by October and have been typing it into the computer since then.

But seriously. Who am I to dare to think I could be a writer?

Oh yes, I’ve heard the argument “I write therefore I am a writer”; but its being a published author where the distinction is really made. Long before Meryl Streep and Amy Adams had even considered acting in a movie called “Julie and Julia”, Julie Powell understood that being a writer meant being published. It wasn’t enough to have a half written manuscript, an apparently popular blog and a desperate desire to be a writer. You need to be recognised by other people, (people who are regarded as professionals in the publishing field,) for them to agree that the words you have so carefully strung together like a pearl necklace are worthy enough to be printed in some format for other people to read before you can call yourself a writer.

So here it is. My journey towards the end goal of being a published writer. If nothing else keeping a record will keep me accountable to continue learning about my chosen craft. I need to keep pushing my personal boundaries in my efforts to be published; death or publication. I prefer publication.


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