Being A Writer
By Natalie Bright
On the first night of class she scanned the room, looked us all in the eye, and said, “You are all writers, or you wouldn’t be here.” That comment shocked me to the core. A writer! Me? Just hearing those words gave me hope. Even though my day job involved writing, I never once considered working on the stories that floated around in my head. It was several years later before I could say the words out loud to anyone.
“I’m a writer.” Why is that so hard to explain?
What is it about being a writer that is so intimidating? I think it’s the pressure we put on ourselves. It’s not like we have someone standing over our shoulder saying, “Write. Produce. You MUST crank out those chapters. Don’t stop.” On some days I wish there were someone who could make the world go away and insist that I sit down at the key board.
Once you say those word, the world has great expectations. Non-writers think they’re being helpful. “You’re a writer? You must have a lot of time on your hands.” “What have you written?” “Do you even have a book?” “Are your articles in anything I’ve heard about?”
Now the pressure is on—write a book, win a contest, publish something, submit anything…the world is wondering what you’re doing.
What happened to the joy of writing? Where did the thrill go of finding the right word? I used to feel less pressure to do this thing that I love.
I ponder my sanity at the start of another NaNoWriMo. This November I will finish the WIP, but I’m going to enjoy the process. Just me and words. Just me and the world inside my head. I don’t care if you like it or not.
“Allow your characters to take you on their journey,” the writing instructor said so many, many years ago. In the end, that’s the key to this crazy process.
Just write it.