Friday, April 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Writer

Five Minute Friday

When do you get to call yourself a writer? A real writer?

When you publish your first novel?
When it makes the New York Times Best Seller list?
When you bang on your keyboard after the babies are finally in bed?
When someone validates those keystrokes and tells you that you encouraged them?
When you nervously sweating scribble in a notebook in the writer's group at the library?

When I was little, I read lots and lots of books. I was a voracious reader and I couldn't get enough. I liked to write my thoughts down, too and when I didn't have a pen and paper I'd just narrate my whole day in my head with the best adjectives and most vivid prose I could muster. I remember one day when I was walking into my elementary school and I glanced around, mortified, to make sure no one had caught me. "She pulled the hard wooden door open as a gust of wind blew through her hair that October morning", I had said out loud as I had opened the door.

These days, most of my thoughts and most of our stories that are worth recording find their way out of my heart, through my fingers, onto the screen. I'm thankful for it because it's one of the best  anxiety pill I've ever taken. Once it's out on the page, whatever it is, it has less power in my mind. Sometimes it's a true worry release or a genuine heart pour. Other times, it's just something taking up mental space. Either way, it feels good when I process and it becomes unjumbled and occasionally it becomes a thing of true beauty.

But that doesn't answer the question. When can you call yourself a writer? I say it tentatively, with a good bit of fear- it's one of the things I'm most self conscious about. I mostly say it in a whisper, I usually prefer "storyteller", and too often, when asked about it, I allow myself to make self deprecating comments along the lines of "oh, it's just a dumb thing on the Internet about my kids."

Something changed awhile back, though. My best friend, who is a real writer- who writes real things, and studies the literary giants, who can quote Flannery on a dime and who is well on his way to a PHD in these studies (I would have never thought my thirteen year old heavy metal listening, drum playing, Puma wearing, best friend would be a doctor of any kind when we grew up, but God is funny and irony abounds) affirmed me in it. He said gracious words about my words and God used him to chip away some of the insecurities. I made other friends who understand what this craft means to me and Peyton came along side me in a big way and acknowledged that this is a chunk of my heart and that tears are sometimes spilled on these keys and that I'm most alive- most myself- doing this this thing.

These days, I still whisper. I still insist I tell stories. But I don't call it dumb anymore.

And sometimes, in the silence, when all I hear is the clicking of keys and the thoughts untangling in my own head, I say it, just to myself....

I am a writer.


juliea said...

Visiting from Five minute Friday

Wonderful thoughts on being a writer. I too struggle with when am I actually a real writer? It seems to fall into place for others- the published stuff- articles, books, whatever. I wouldn't know where to begin. But like you it is the magic of the words that grabs and holds me.It soothes, excites, sorts out life. It gives great joy. Yet it is so much a part of us, we hold back I believe for fear some one will kill it with their words. So we pretend it really isn't important-that it's not us, it's just this dumb thing we do every so often because we get a kick out of it.

Emily Hoff said...

I totally do the narration thing too--I'm glad I'm not the only one! It makes the mundane more fun, right?! I know you just finished "Million Little Ways" too, but I have to quote this part to you: "You are an image bearer and that is not about you becoming famous or important or promoted but about you becoming more fully yourself for the glory of God. And when you are fully yourself, everyone benefits" (page 210).

I feel like you are fully yourself through your writing on this blog and that translates to being very encouraging for people. It's neat to view life through your eyes--every perspective is valuable.

Keep writing, friend! :)