The Spirit of a Writer

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The Spirit of A Writer

I 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.

8 thoughts on “The Spirit of a Writer

  1. csloanelevy says:

    Yes, yes, yes! You are most definitely a writer. I hear it in your words. Always proclaim it, never doubt it. Those bits of paper in your pocket are bits of your soul. Never be ashamed of it on account of being unpublished. Being published by a faulty system focused on money means nothing in the face of principle or a reason to exist. What makes us what we are is the misery we feel when we’re not writing. As long as that’s there, you are a writer. It’s not about money. Those other jobs… they’re for staying afloat, and as such, make them as stress-free as possible. I know I do.

    Thank you for sharing your spirit here, and your doubt. I hope you keep up with this blog. It warmed my heart tonight.

  2. csloanelevy says:

    Sweet. Since I’m your first, I’ll have to come back often to make my presence known. 😀

  3. neonspndx says:

    2 Things: 1) it sounds like you’re already on your way. I believe that the journey is what matters and going through these motions of putting thought out there on “paper” and pushing yourself towards your dreams is what counts the most. You are most certainly on your way!! 2) You are already a writer (as noted above). Saying you are not is like saying I am not a figure skater after 22 years of competition because I didn’t devote my entire life to the sport. You are where your passions lie. also – we’re about the same age :). Good luck with everything! I like your site.

    • Megan Olson says:

      True and true! You are absolutely a figure skater and I am absolutely a writer. Hearing voices from a the same age range as me if always fascinating; I will be checking your blog very soon! Thank you and good luck to you as well!

  4. ttanvi says:

    Love your spirit! Great stuff…look forward to reading more.

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