I am just about to publish my sixth book.
As my writing partner and I are putting on the final touches and gearing up for the big release, a realization came to me:
I AM A WRITER.
This is ironic to me because, growing up, I never considered becoming a writer. I was never told I was a writer and was certainly was never encouraged to pursue writing as a worthy personal or career goal.
In fact for much of my life, I hated to write. It was not natural for me, and I often received negative marks on my English papers. Oh, how I wish they had invented spellcheck 20 years earlier than they did!
Most importantly, I can't remember one teacher telling me that writing was important or that being a good writer was critical to my learning and in my life.
I am still haunted by memories of papers I had put blood, sweat and tears into -- only to see them torn to shreds by my professors.
The red marks not only spoke to me, loud and clear, that I was not "writer material," but they made writing a chore that I endured, not something that I enjoyed.
But I have since learned something important that I think every writer should know.
It has taken me six books, numerous papers and thousands of blog posts to be able to say:
I AM A WRITER.
The reason I can say that with such gusto now is because of one thing and one thing only:
I write every single day.
I write when I feel inspired.
I write when I don't.
I write to capture my thinking.
I write when nothing comes to mind.
I write when I want to
I write when I have to.
But no matter what the purpose or circumstance, I write.
Sometimes, what I write becomes the introduction for a new book. Sometimes it becomes a post you read here. Sometimes it becomes a Tweet or an email to a friend.
Most often, it goes into the trash.
It doesn't matter what becomes of what I write.
Because no matter where my writing ends up, every time I write, it becomes more of a privilege.
Not because I get published and not because of a reward.
Because I can.
Because WE have the opportunity to write everyday.
We have the opportunity to write worlds that matter.
We have the opportunity to change lives with our language.
Today I am beckoning and challenging the writer in you.
Do not wait for inspiration or an audience to begin.
Your words and ideas have the power to move and motivate strangers, to shake the work and rattle the skies (even if it is just your eyes for now).
Writing is a choice.
One that is beholden to you everyday.
We "get to" choose every single day to exercise this great power and experience the freedoms and joys that come with it.
In case the words don't come as fast as you like, repeat after me:
YOU ARE A WRITER. YOU ARE A WRITER. YOU ARE A WRITER.
You just need to write.