Definition of a writer

I’ve written and rewritten this post many times. Some versions only got a first draft, others went through a second, and some even a third. It seemed to me that the first post I ever made on this blog should be a memorable one, a post that could trick everyone who read it into thinking that I’m clever and eloquent. But no matter how many drafts and versions I went through, nothing seemed like it would be good enough to mark my debut into the world of writers’ blogs. In fact, the more I wrote, the less clever and eloquent I felt. Maybe blogging wasn’t for me after all.

This indecision reminds me a lot about what I go through when I write fiction. I’ve got a lot of ideas. Sometimes new ones come to me daily. Sometimes even more frequently. Sadly, few of them are ever more than a few hastily scribbled words so that they won’t exit my head as quickly as it entered. I’ve written novel length pieces before, but at the beginning of each, I always have so many questions to pull me down. Am I a good enough writer to tell this story? Is this story good enough to be told? What if I inadvertently say something with the story that I don’t want to say? What if people don’t like what I have to say? And at the end, I’m none the wiser about the answers.

In the end, it comes down to one thing: fear. Fear of putting myself out there, fear of being me, fear of being misunderstood, fear of not being liked, but most of all, fear of being defined. I hate the idea of labeling myself and being labeled. I don’t want to be one thing; I want to be everything. I want to elicit laughter and tears, rage and joy. I want to make people stop and think, and I want to make them race breathlessly towards the end. I want from my writing what I want from life: Every shade of every emotion, and insight into every human condition. Most of the time, it seems like too much to ask. But I need to ask anyway.

I can’t be afraid forever. Or maybe I can, but I can’t always let that fear dictate my life. If I want to be a writer, I have to write, regardless of whether the output warps the perfection in my head, and regardless of  the opportunity that it gives the world to define me. If I put words on paper, I may lose my mythical “one day”, but “one day” won’t come at all if I don’t start walking towards it. So here’s my first step.

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5 thoughts on “Definition of a writer

  1. Jean Davis says:

    Congrats on starting your blog. It’s a great first step for getting yourself out there…or here, as it were. 🙂

    The best way to write, is just to do it. Don’t worry about anyone else until the draft is done and you’ve revised and edited and taken a deep breath.

  2. Ah yes the infinite internal battle of “am I good enough?”
    The answer of course is: “yes you are.”
    And you already know that is the answer – the harder part is just doing the writing. And then comes the hardest part of all: Sharing those words with others.

    No matter how real or unreal (fictionalized) our words might be, they are still our words and contain the distilled essence of us.

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