I think I was born to be a writer. Not because I can form pictures out of words like John Steinbeck. Not because I can create characters that you remember and fall in love with like Wally Lamb. Not because I have a deep understanding of similes and imagery like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not because I can craft a poem that says something more than the actual words in the poem like Emily Dickinson. Not because I can make an entire magical world come alive like J. K. Rowling.
I don’t excel at any of that. That’s not what makes me a writer. Let’s get real…I’m a mediocre writer at best.
But still, I’m a writer.
It’s taken me years to be able to say that. Years to realize you don’t have to get paid for what you write to be a writer. No one even has to read your work. Does the tree in the forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it? Why yes, yes it does. And you can be a writer without a following, a writer without a fanbase, a writer even if you are the only one reading your work.
Me? I’m a writer because there are sentences that drift in my blood begging to be written. This very blog post was penned at midnight, just as I was about to crawl into bed. My husband was asleep, and I was exhausted and desperate for rest after a day’s worth of mothering, but I suddenly knew what I wanted to say for this first post and how I wanted to say it and the nagging of the words couldn’t be ignored. I had to write. That’s not all that make me a writer, but when words demand to be written and I listen and I write them, then I am a writer.
Years ago, I discovered blogging in one of my darkest hours. I was three weeks post-miscarriage, struggling to conceive our second child. I had been a writer for most of my life, since writing that first lousy poem that my teacher raved about in the fourth grade. Through childhood and adolescence, I felt compelled to write constantly. I can recall escaping the boredom of household chores and the loneliness of a being an introverted only child by crafting characters, and dialogue, and story arcs in my head and then on paper. In college, I majored in English and studied the works of famous writers and learned how to find my voice in writing. I learned how to write for real and how to edit for real. I learned the pain of pouring your heart into something, only to delete all of it but one single, powerful word because the rest of it was garbage.
And then I graduated, got a job I hated, got married to a man I loved, started trying to have a baby, moved across state lines, had a baby… And I forgot about writing. Or maybe I didn’t forget about it, but I ignored the call. It’s a cliché, but in motherhood, I lost a piece of myself. I was tired and overwhelmed and I had no choice but to neglect the writer in me as I tried to keep a tiny human alive for the very first time.
And then I lost a baby.
I lost a baby and I was bitter and broken. I had to purge the grief somewhere. There’s truth in the image of a tortured artist. I was desperate. I was raw. My pain was ugly and my art wasn’t always pretty. But the words poured out of me fast and furious and, as much as it hurt to release them, I found healing in doing so. I had let writing go years before, and yet it found me again when I needed it the most.
And so here I am once more. I’m a wife and a tired mother, still in the trenches, still praying for grace, but I can feel that the seasons are changing. Things feel different now, I feel different, and the call to keep writing is strong. As with all things in life, there is an ebb and flow to the words, and I don’t know how often I’ll be here. I don’t know what this blog will become, if anything, or who will read it, or if that matters. I don’t even really know what I’ll say, though I hope I can craft something beautiful , curate all my thoughts in one place, give voice to the pain and beauty of being a woman, a mother, and a human being.
I don’t know if that’s possible or if I’ll be very good at it, but what I do know is that I am a writer and so I have to write, if only for me. What I do know is that writing feels like an old friend, familiar and safe. Even when I find the process miserable and I find myself angry with my inability to say what I want to, I write because it makes me feel human, and whole, and seen, and known. I write because it gives me life.