I have wanted to be a writer for much of my life. Even as what I imagined my future career to be has changed, there has always been “—and a writer” tacked onto the end as an ever-present unrealistic dream. But for someone who has always wanted to be a writer, I’ve done shockingly little real writing in my life. As I am now trying to work out what it is I actually hope to accomplish in this life I am living, the time has come for me to decide if I truly want to call myself a writer, or if I just like the idea of calling myself a writer.
I studied creative writing in school, but that was more because I felt like it was what I was supposed to be doing, and the classes were often low-stress and enjoyable, than anything else. I have written as long as I can remember, all the way back to the laminated “books” I wrote about my friends and I that I read at my elementary school Young Authors’ Night, but my periods of actual writing are few and far between, and I have never, not once in my life, seen a piece through to completion.
I’m tired of saying “I want to be a writer.” It simply isn’t enough anymore. Last week it suddenly dawned on me that if I want to change “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer” I need to do some friggin’ writing. Writers write.
Saying “I’m trying to become a writer” feels somehow shameful to admit. It’s a secret you keep from the people because you both know you’re not going to quit your day job. I’m embarrassed to write it in this post. Even now it feels like something I shouldn’t say because somehow I’m not worthy, but damn it I’m going to admit it. I want to be a writer. I will be a writer. I am full of stories that I want to tell, stories that only I can tell. I’m young and I have dreams. It shouldn’t feel wrong for me to try and make them reality.
Being a writer is not the only path I will pursue. I don’t expect to be “successful” as a writer in whatever capitalist sense one is a “successful writer” but I’ll be damned if that stops me. I’m not under the delusion that I will create great and treasured works of literature. I’m not even saying that I know I will be published someday. What I am saying is that I am going to write. I am going to write, and write, and write, and fill my life with words the way it is supposed to be. My biggest defense mechanism against failure is to not start something in the first place, but there is no risk of failure if the only thing I’m asking myself to do is to create. So I will create. I will create stories and create the life I want to live.
I would never forgive myself if I gave up, so the least I can do is actually try.