Have you ever felt as if writing weren’t a real job? That saying you’re a writer is kind of fanciful, and even selfish?
I absolutely have! It’s really ironic because I started reading when I was four and devoured as many books as I could from that time on. I mean I LOVE to read. I love reading stories about people’s lives, their actions, feelings, motivations, everything. And yet, I have struggled with the idea of being a writer for years. Yes, literally years!
Even when I have worked as a writer and editor professionally, I still struggled with the idea of being a novel writer. It was as if it weren’t a real job. That I couldn’t possibly do it and make money.
Who did I think wrote all those books I’ve read throughout the years? It was as if I had a blind spot. Other people can be novel writers, but not me.
And I didn’t really look at it rationally or question why.
That’s it exactly, I didn’t ask the most important question, why not me?
You’d think that someone who’d read so many books and loved them would naturally gravitate towards being a writer, but no. I swear I think I’ve fought the idea tooth and nail for years. Maybe my whole career, which is over 17 years now.
And why didn’t I ask the question? I believe it’s because I didn’t believe I deserved to have a job I completely loved. That I’d do whether I was paid for it or not. That felt more like a calling than work.
And since I’ve started writing my book again, it has suddenly come alive within me. I feel without a shadow of a doubt that writing my novel is what I’m meant to do. Since I finally pushed myself to do it, to take that first step, and then another and another, it is coming together for me.
I realize that not asking myself the question had a lot to do with not living my life for me. I’m sure I was worried what members of my family would say or even think. So I used the idea of not being able to make enough money as a fiction writer as an excuse not to try.
But there was always a part inside of me that worked on it. I spent hours and hours constructing the story and creating a scene weave. Then a while later I started writing it only to realize that my main character was the wrong person and too young. So I then recrafted the story and scene weaves and began again. And that time it worked, and I wrote about 80% of the first draft and stopped. That was about three years ago, but here I am writing it again. And this time I know I’m going to finish it.
Because this time it feels different because I feel different. I finally feel as if I have the right to be a fiction writer. That I would actually be denying myself if I didn’t finish my book and keep writing.
This is all so new to me, feeling worthy. Feeling as if I have the right to be who I am deep inside. In an odd way I feel as if I’ve finally grown up, come into my own. And I am so thankful I finally have.
I can’t live my life being someone I’m not anymore. And because of this decision I’ve had people walk away from me. Was I afraid of that in the first place? Possibly. But anyone who can’t let me be me, isn’t good for me anyway. It is better they keep on walking.
But I’m staying right here with me because I’m a novel writer and I’m going to do it this time.
From the series, Write On! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor