As you know, last month I got Freshly Pressed and got a flood of new people checking out the blog, following me and commenting. At first, I got a little confused because people were sending me lovely messages like:
And how did you get that rough draft? You wrote it. That still counts.
A rough draft of a novel is much farther than most people get, and with everything else that you do, it’s an inspiration.
There. You said it. Owned it. Good for you. Now you just need to fill it out, breathe it, play and move and feel joy with it (despite the occasional blank mind or struggle!). So lovely to have stumbled upon your blog
I agree it’s hard to know when to call yourself a writer, but my dear, you ARE a writer. Use the description often, as you have earned it.
Glad to find this intriguing blog. I think hesitation in calling one’s self an artist or a writer, when that’s really what you’re after, demonstrates a healthy level of humility. You’re realistic and level-headed. That’s great. You’re all set now to be a dreamer!It takes confidence to say you are a writer, and you have, so congrats.
First of all, thank you, thank you, to all of you kind people. But, I had to go back to my about page. Just what had I written?!?! What I found there was my usual self-deprecation and self doubt. It was unprofessional, though, and not what anything was actually about. I said nothing that needed to be said and only things that didn’t need to be said. Don’t worry, I’m not beating myself up too badly. I’ve gone through a lot lately.
Here is what the old version said:
I am a writer and a caretaker and a teacher and I never know how to write this sentence. I am a caretaker, writer, and teacher? I am a teacher, (should the only job that pays go first?) writer and caretaker? Enough of that.
I am a writer and I have recently completed a novel, Dissonance, and I’m looking for the next step in the process as I hope to publish it. I imagine it will be a long and harrowing process. I wish it to be. I’m up for it.
I have been a theatre teacher in an urban high school for ten years and I must constantly reconcile the two facts that I love what I do and I must also leave it, sooner rather than later.
I help to take care of my grandmother, Babu. A little while before we were married I moved in with my husband, who had already been caretaking for Babu. Although we have been high school sweethearts since my Freshman year, he was hesitant to pull me in to a caretaking situation which he knew could never be easy and would only get exponentially harder. I understood, but didn’t bat an eyelash. Feeling every ounce that she is my family, too, it didn’t take much for me to realize I have no other living grandparents and this is my chance to make up for missed opportunities with my own grandparents. Thus far, the only thing that has been easy about helping to take care of her is her.
This blog is about more than insights and a view of history gleaned through her diaries. It’s about the relationships, sacrifices, and love that go into being a caretaker.
It is wild thinking of how in 8 months I need to update “who I am.” I’ve been doing a lot of that lately “off site” and now I’m doing it here. For the last 10 years I haven’t needed to update much of anything about me and now there has been a large shift. As of June, I left my career to be a writer. It has taken me the whole summer and several months leading up to the end of the last school year to be able to say: “I’m a writer.” I always want to say: “I’m a full time caretaker and a writer.” It was just so much easier when I could say: “I’m a teacher, and I like to write.” Yes, it’s true that I am also caretaking full time but when people ask me what my career is, it’s hard to say “writing.” I went to about seven years of college to be a teacher and that was my only real job and that is what I did for 10 years. Maybe I’m not really a writer yet, I haven’t been paid for anything, I have only ever submitted three pieces of my writing, yes I have a ROUGH draft of a novel, so to be honest, I’m not there yet. I’m not even getting into the groove yet. I haven’t even written enough yet to “know my genre.” But when I was in my first few months of teaching, and completely floundering, I called myself a teacher without hesitation. So I’m now a writer full time. There. Said it.
But geeze! I’ve been writing every day! I’ve participated in quite a few writing contests now, I’ve gotten farther in my book… I. AM. A. WRITER.
I updated my about page. Even still, it took all day. The first draft of the update was as undermining as the old drafts. So I erased and started again. Now it’s much simpler, much shorter, and as confidant as I could possibly make it sound.
I’m an artist and I have the belief that it is important to fake it until you make it. If you undercut yourself, no one is going to take even a glance at your art. Whether you are a braggart or not, people will decide for themselves if what you do is good. Why stop them at the door and say: “You know what? It’s not good. Just turn around now.” That’s bad from a business stand point. That’s bad, also, from a creative stand point. It’s death. Saying “I’m a writer” does mean I’m a good writer. Doesn’t say I’m a bad one. It’s the noun and the verb, not the adjective. So I just write. I say I’m a writer at night so when I wake up the next day I continue writing because it’s what I do and who I am.