I’ve been paid to write things for most of my career, but it’s taken me a long time to call myself a writer. I remember seeing ‘writer’ next to my name on a project proposal a few years ago and it looked so silly, I laughed out loud.
There used to be a guy at my old running club who took up a new hobby every few months. Two weeks in and he’d have all of the kit and without any trace of embarrassment, would happily tell people he was a ‘golfer’, ‘bowler’ or a ‘real tennis’ devotee.
His confidence and his willingness to not just try new things but embody them was bewildering and bordered on the pretentious. Most of his hobbies rarely lasted longer than a couple of months, but for that time, that’s who he was and what he did.
The thing I realise now was that he really didn’t care if he was any good. That meant that he wasn’t paralysed with fear of criticism and neither was he standing on the sidelines waiting to be graded and granted entry into ‘the club’ on the strength of his abilities. He threw himself into whatever it was with an open heart. He played golf, he was a golfer. He ran, so he was a runner. Simple.
I thought of him today as I was reflecting on how the ‘writer’ tag still made me itch, like I wearing someone else’s t-shirt. But then something finally clicked into place.
The thing is, I write regardless of whether I get paid to do it. I write regardless of whether anyone reads what I’ve written. Ninety per cent of what I write never sees the light of day. I write because I always have and because I have to. I write because it’s how I try to make sense of the world (wish me luck with that at the moment!) and most importantly, how I try to make sense of myself.
I write because I love the process.
I write. Therefore I’m a writer.
I know. Two decades to arrive at the flaming obvious? What can I say? #WIP
It’s not about doing or having…it’s all about being.