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Lianna Serko Headshot

Can Writers Today Become Authors?

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The world of today makes so many things accessible to so many people. Never before could a young person find employment by following a corporation's Twitter account, nor could my grandma see my face from 45 miles away (it's not good glasses; hello, Skype!). Yet despite the ever-advancing condition of global innovation and proliferation, there are certain things -- which are seemingly simple to attain -- that still remain unaccounted for. I'm opening this post in the broadest of terms to emphasize the universality of this issue, only to soon narrow the scope considerably.

The internet, talk shows and optimists everywhere would love to have young people believe, especially in today's day and age of constant change and limitless possibility, that we can do anything to which we set our minds and expend our energy. But is that really the case? Is the next multimillion dollar business or scientific discovery lying inside all of us, if only we extract it from our intellectual depths and apply our passion? I say nay to this notion -- not due to harbored cynicism, but rather based primarily on my fledgling yet profound personal experience with a hopeless case of hope.

I would love to write a novel. Well, actually, I would love to finish writing a novel. I'm in the process right now -- on page 37. I have my characters and settings and plot devised. I know which character will be the foil to whom, and I know the exact scene in which I will construct the climax. I have all of these elements, but I am still lacking one integral component -- time.

In the depths of frustration at the hands of Time, I hold notions of "unleashed potential" as mere bits of inspirational rhetoric. We, the young, do have the potential for greatness, but the realization of our efficacy is always subservient to the functioning of our daily lives.

I have personally felt the latent effects of this sad circumstance before, but never more so than this month. November is known as National Novel Writing Month -- adorably denoted by the acronym NaNo WriMo. The theory behind NaNo WriMo is incredible -- that each person be empowered to write a full-length novel in one month's time. For some (myself included), writing a novel is a lifelong aspiration. NaNo WriMo creates a means by which every creative novelist-aspirant is afforded a stamp of approval from the omnipotent internet gods to sit down and just write. And that's a beautiful thing. But have I (or any other college student, working class mother or Starbucks barista with the desire to do so) had the chance to sit down and write a novel? Or, for that matter, write anything at all other than a term paper?

The answer is obvious. It incites in me a torrent of introspective questions and existentialist analyses of how I am living my life and what I can do to achieve my goals, which clearly require much more than just passion. I need to be given the opportunity of occasion. For now, I will happily continue on my path as a busy college undergraduate. I hope, some day, I will defy the laws of young adulthood and take a one-month sabbatical from school and from work, and I will write a novel. Ever-present in my personal writing journey, though, will loom a cloud of uncertainty that I will have time to make my piece complete. I am a writer, but can I become an author?