“For aspiring writers who have been looked upon with pitying condescension by their friends and relatives [writing courses and seminars are] a wonderful thing. In writing classes, if nowhere else, it is entirely permissible to spend large chunks of your time off in your own little dreamworld. Still–do you really need permission and a hall-pass to go there? Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you are one? God, I hope not.”
~ Stephen King, On Writing
This post is meant to be short and sweet. Okay… maybe just short. Kings’s quote struck me and I needed to share. See, I understand acutely what he means about well-meaning family and friends who look at my “writer thing” as a passing fad. Many who still ask, “when are you going to find a REAL job?” Don’t you just want to smack those people? I do.
I understand the need to be with people who share my interest and take what I do seriously. I want to be encouraged instead of put down. I want others to see value in my efforts instead of a waste of time. And yes, I sometimes search for the paper badge that proves to the world I am a writer.
Questions plague me. Can I be a writer and not be published? Can I claim this vocation though I haven’t made a cent? Am I a real writer if life often derails me from my best intentions? What am I? Who am I? And what in the hell do I tell people when they ask me what I “do” at home? Because sometimes “I’m a writer” just doesn’t feel good enough under the pressure of raised eyebrows and, as King puts it, the “Bob’s-your-uncle grin”.
Well, today is a day of change. So here I go… YES! I am an unpublished writer. YES! I claim writing as my vocation, because I know it’s more than just a j-o-b. YES! I can still be a writer, even if life explodes and takes me off course for a while. I’m gonna chalk it up to field research. Because someday this experience is going to manifest in my writing. What am I? An unstable though incredibly passionate writer who is wading through the muck of life searching for the gems. Who am I? D.B. Smyth, writer. What do I tell others? I spend my time creating worlds and shaping lives… I AM A WRITER! And what can you do with your raised eyebrows and stupid grins? Save ’em for the mirror.
I know some days will be harder than others to remember that I don’t need a hall pass or paper badge to prove I’m a writer. King wrote,
“If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all. I’m not editorializing, just trying to give you the facts as I see them.”
~ Stephen King, On Writing
So… for those days, I’ve created writer post-it notes to spread around my workspace. Feel free to do the same. And every time you look at them remember that I believe in you! You are a writer! Ok… now you say it to me. 🙂 lol
Happy writing! (Oh! And sorry… this was longer than anticipated, hehe).