Thursday, April 7, 2016

On Claiming who you are, and some Reasons I suck at that.

Writing is one of the most permanent forms of communicating ideas we have as humans. It's that important (for all the dismissing of pursuing the career).

I remember the first career test we took, as a student of the 90's, and novelist was the first entry it suggested for me.

I threw that manilla folder and the paper inside that read my aptitude test and resulting job away. I threw it away because I was terrified. Terrified of being a "starving artist". I think, more than anything, I wanted a reliable 9-5 with a reliable paycheck, something that I knew would happen every week or two weeks.

My father had started and ran his own business, always working for himself.  He kept his head and our heads above water, but it was just barely. And, eventually, the business collapsed when I was in high school, despite all of his time and effort. Watching it broke me. I didn't want to be responsible for my own employment. I didn't want to wonder whether I'd get paid regularly or not. But there it was, a printed label stuck in that folder listed the only things it thought I was good enough at to matter, and all of them fell into that category. To be clear, not all writers work independently at all (technical writing, business writing, even advertising and script formulation are just some examples), it just was the idea that had settled into my head then. 

It was right. I probably should have been smart enough to see that, but I wasn't. And, I was writing. Even if it was short novels that I threw away as a kid because they were garbage, I was writing.

Not everything I wrote early on was dark or speculative fiction, and it still isn't, but that part of me is the easiest and most enjoyable to access when I'm putting words to paper, and it's still my favorite genre to read in, too. 

I struggled so long against my talents and identity as a writer that it feels weird now to claim it. I ran around telling everyone I would not even call myself one until I had finished my own book. I did that, I'm working on second and third books and short stories and guess what? Still feels weird. Calling myself a writer still seems wrong. It doesn't get easier with accomplishments, but I'm learning to do it anyway.

I have a family now, three fantastic babies and a stellar husband. I'm a grown woman who takes care of her family. And writes. I'm a WAHM, but the W, it stands for writer.

*(The Silver Kiss, one of my first supernatural books that I remember having a huge impact on me as a kid).

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