The Spirit of a Writer

32

January 4, 2013 by Meg.Lacy

2181499791066529I am only 26.

I repeat this fact to myself all of the time. But It never helps. I still feel like life is passing me by and I am not even near where I want to be.

What I want to be is a writer. I’m editing my first book. I’ve submitted short stories. I read educational books about writing. I do everything that most real writers do. But, when someone asks me about my life plan, I tell them: “I want to be a writer.” And every time I do this I wonder why didn’t I say I am a writer?

To be honest I don’t know. It just never comes out that way.  Want to, not am, is the battle I fight with myself and the world daily.

So what is the difference between being a writer and wanting to be a writer? I think it depends on your definition. I have met people who have never had a single thing published yet brightly declare themselves a writer while others, who have had entire books published, decline to accept the coveted title.

To me, being a writer means that writing is my biggest responsibility. Not my job in a boutique. Not my second job as a social media manager. Not my third job as the “COO” of my husband’s start-up company. When writing is the only professional obligation that holds me, I will call myself a writer. When I can sit and write for hours without feeling guilty that I am not doing something else, I will be a writer.

But I don’t want this to be what it means. Not to me anyways.

I want to redefine my definition of ‘writer’. I want to say- and believe -that a writer is someone who sees a story in every interaction, every song and every moment of beauty they come across. They are people who write because they have to. Because they can’t help themselves. They scribble ideas on napkins and bits of envelopes. They have lists of things that inspire them. They write because it is who they are. It is how they express themselves. It is how they see the world.

The desire to write is visceral. If you are truly a writer it comes from within and spills out. A writer shouldn’t be defined as someone who is published, paid or prolific. A writer should be defined by their visceral need to write. That built in need is what I call ‘the spirit of a writer’ and only the presence of that unique spirit should determine if someone can call themselves a writer or not.

So, from now on, I am a writer. When someone asks me what I do I will tell them I write; I am a writer and always will be. That the bits of paper that fall from my pockets every time a change my pants are more important than any check I have ever received. That whenever I hear a love song I think of writing and what it means to me. That I have the spirit of a writer and as such, I write.

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32 thoughts on “The Spirit of a Writer

  1. wordactress says:

    Megan – my good friend Wendy met u over the Holidays at her favorite store in Laguna.
    I’m a writer, too. Check out my books on Amazon under Mary Kennedy Eastham.
    Anyway, Wendy thinks we’d be a good connection for one another.
    Don’t be too hard on yourself, Megan. As u said, ur only 26! Just write or promote
    or send stuff out to contests and journals everyday and u r a writer! It took me a long
    time to come to that. Save yourself a lot of time and just accept that!!!

    What else? My website is: http://www.RP-Author.com/MKE and me e-mail is:
    marylovesdogs@sbcglobal.net I Guest Blog a lot if u ever
    want me to write something for ur blog. One of my goals for 2013 was to create
    little miracles every day. So today, Megan, ur my little miracle! Now got write!!!

    • Megan Olson says:

      Hi Mary,
      So sorry for the slow response! I have been so insanely busy. I will absolutely look up your book 🙂 Thank you for the encouraging words ( always nice to hear ) and if you have any critiques on my writing do tell! I am always happy to hear it 😀

      When my blog is built up a little more– if I ever get consistent with it 😉 I would love to have you as a guest blogger!

      Say hi to Wendy for me,
      Megan O.

  2. Esther Cosio says:

    Megan,
    It was great to meet you last week. This is the article about writers’ names: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324355904578159453918443978.html

    I look forward to following you here.

  3. G says:

    WoW… U r a writer. Superbly put. Very well expressed. I loved reading every bit. U r a writer even if u r only 26 and with nothing published…. Never Give In. God Bless.

    • Megan Olson says:

      haha the good thing about being 26 is that I still have plenty of time to solidify my “writer” status. I feel like this is a good push in the right direction. Thank you for the encouragement!

  4. Well said, Megan. I think every writer, whether she calls herself that or not, can relate to this. I write, have always written, yet I’d never call myself a writer. I recently had a piece published, but not for money, and so it doesn’t seem to count, so still, I don’t call myself a writer. It seems we feel we can only call ourselves anything if we do it for our livelihood, and even then, like you said, some might not claim it. Keep writing. You’re a writer in my book, and you’ve got a new follower.

  5. sonalika says:

    Hi…I have been writing since I was a kid. Wrote my first “mystery-cum-thriller” when I was probably thirteen or so…was heavily inspired by all the Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys. And from then on wrote many short stories, gazillion poems and abstract pieces of prose. But despite all that, even today…I too struggle to proudly declare that I am a writer because I feel I don’t do enough justice to this closet passion of mine. And I have to say that after reading this post of yours…I couldnt have articulated the “spirit of a writer” better. You have brought out the essence so well. Keep writing well!

    • Megan Olson says:

      I really enjoy hearing about other people who struggle with the same thing I do regarding writing. I think you absolutely sound like a writer.. after all persistence is one of our most important attributes. 😀

  6. sonalika says:

    Reblogged this on Everything Else and commented:
    Spirit of a writer…

  7. smdubinsky says:

    Nice to meet a kindred spirit. Writers are born, not made. We write for the same reason we breathe; because we must.

  8. minamelodymay says:

    I love your writing! And it’s funny how I totally recognized myself in your post! You’re right I guess, writers are writers in every inch of their soul. Writers are born that way. I guess we were born this way, so from now on I’ll answer just like you said: ‘I’m a writer’.
    13x

    • Megan Olson says:

      Its sad how hard it is to actually do it at first. But, I feel like if you don’t set goals and then declare them, they will never happen. So, I make sure to say it everrryyy chance I get. Mostly to remind myself: I have a goal and I’m not backing down. Thanks for the comment!!!

  9. pmdello says:

    Yes! You are a writer. Keep it going forward.

  10. I sure identify with what you are saying here. I’ve been the same way–I write a lot, I consider myself a writer, Ilove to write–it’s all I really want to do– and yet I’m hesitant to call myself a writer publicly. Thanks for giving voice to what so many of us feel.

  11. I think we all go through this. It’s definitely frustrating. Knowing what you want but having the issue of getting there! I used to write all the time I think I’m fairly good.but for the past two years I really haven’t wrote much. But now that I just started to write again, trying to get back into touch with my inner “me”, all my stuff sucks! lol.

  12. […] The Spirit of a Writer. […]

  13. noruleswords says:

    You are a writer!

  14. A wise and very well expressed post…I’m 34 and only just starting to take me the writer more seriously so you’re ahead of the game to be so aware of this issue already. I’ve written ever since I was a child but I think my fear has always been that doing it for pleasure and a hobby is one thing – I can’t fail, I bring myself and my friends and family a lot of joy. But writing for real and for money? The writing isn’t just words, it’s me…those words are me, they are who I am, so how do you put a price on that?! Keep up the great work and I can only echo the other commenters…you ARE a writer:-)

    • Megan Olson says:

      To be honest this is one of the only pieces any of my friends has seen…. I was happy to say I was a writer but I wasn’t quite ready to share. Haha its scary! You feel so exposed. I feel a lot more comfortable after being Freshly Pressed

      🙂

  15. You have pulled my feelings straight from my heart and posted them for me to see before me. As I was reading it was like I was a Southern baptist shouting out “Amen” after every sentence… You get it, and thus, you get a part of me. Something not many can say.

    Thanks for posting

  16. carlpeters says:

    What is age? I am 46 and have always been a fiction fan reader and after finally going on the wagon (10+ years now!) I decided to do a degree and see if I can write! Like you I will tell people it’s a hobby of mine, subconsciously thinking the same as you. If I’m not published then I can’t be a proper writer can I? But after getting involved with WordPress I am beginning to realise that there are so many writers out there that must also be unpublished and they are brilliant! I have even had some say that a few of my scribblings are brilliant! We just never see our own talents as easily as others, do we? So you.re right, the spirit of a writer must be in the act of writing and if we’re regularly posting on WordPress, then surely that’s a form of publishing? Let’s all just keep plugging (blogging?) away! You write brilliantly!

  17. ALI CHIBUZOR ORJI says:

    The spirit of a writer. There’s no better feeling like it. I used to wonder if I were indeed a writer, but with this beautiful and inspiring piece from you, I can boldly say, ‘I am a writer’ cos I feel what I write.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Megan Olson says:

      Hey Ali, I always tell myself I have “the spirit of a writer” whenever I feel discouraged. We don’t need anything or anyone else to qualify us… only that urge to sit down and capture life on paper 🙂 Glad it inspired you!

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