This is my very first Insecure Writer's Support Group post! *Excited squeal!* I have followed Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog for a while. . .I read his blog even before I started this baby. It's so awesome to have joined the group! (Check out the website here.)
Ahem. And now for my post. . ..
It's Cross Country and Soccer season.
...which means getting up Saturdays before seven and going to some park for five-plus hours to watch kids run their butts off and then throw up and cry. Pleasent. And it's impossible to know how to dress because for the first two to three hours it's freezing cold and all I can think about is my bed. Then it warms up to like seventy or eighty for the rest of the idea and all I can think is "Why did I wear these jeans?"
And then there's Soccer Sunday! Which means I have to walk from field to field for three or four hours watching little kids push and shove and kick the ball. It also means I have to miss my Green Bay Packer games. Ugh.
No, but honestly, I love watching my siblings play sports. They have been blest with some incredible athletic-ness that I am in awe of because I greatly lack it. Did I say greatly? Greatly.
The best is meeting people at these sporting events.
"Oh, what sport do you play, honey?" The person (usually a woman) will ask, her grin spread from ear to ear.
"I'm kinda the un-official cheerleader. But I'm not like, a real cheerleader." I'll reply, with a small smile. "My siblings all play sports, so. . .but um, I don't play a sport."
"Oh." she'll say, her smile falling just slightly. "Well, do you play an instrument?"
"No, but my siblings do!" I'll say.
"Hmmm. Are you in any clubs at school, sweetheart?"
"Uh. No, not yet, we just moved–"
At this point my mom usually intervenes.
"She's our writer," she'll say, like that explains everything.
She'll nod like she understands. And then I'll make some excuse and leave or change the subject.
Ok, let's be real here. Writing is WORK. It's having ideas swimming through your brain that prevent you from ever getting a decent night's sleep. It's feeling sick to your stomach when you feel like whatever you've just written is terrible and you don't know how to fix it. Writing is finger cramps and sore arms. Writing is staring at a blank piece of paper for hours and knowing what to write but not how to write it. It's an answering machine with thirty un-heard messages and an inbox full of un-read messages. Writing is relief running through your veins, a symphony playing out before your eyes.
Writing sometimes involves hiding under the bed in fear of your manuscript. It also can involve us trying to shove our writing self under the bed.
I have been having a major problem. I act like a closet writer sometimes. Fine, usually. I usually act like a closet writer.
So I woke up the other day and sunlight was streaming in my window and birds were singing. A voice from the sky said to me: Don't be a closet writer! Let your writer-ness shine. Don't feel embarressed telling people that you're a writer. Why?! Why do you need to feel embarressed?! You have been given a wonderful gift!
And after the voice was finished, I jumped out of my window and into the arms of a guy (who greatly resembled Chris Hemsworth) on a white horse. Then we rode off into the sunset and got married and had fourteen children and lived happily ever after. The end.
. . .if only it was so easy. I have come to the realization of what is means to fully embrace my writer-ness over a long time through sweat and tears. And now that I know I need to do it, the challenge is to actually do it. . .
I think part of the reason that people feel awkward or embarressed is that they feel like the other person doesn't understand or will judge them. First of all, how can it be so bad to be judged as a writer!? What could they say? "Oh yeah, Anne Marie's a writer. She writes. She thinks that she'll be published." Those people are just losers. Prove them wrong! Write, write, write and GET published! And then dedicate your book to them.
Secondly, about people not understanding. You know what I say to that?
Who cares if they understand what it means to be a writer? Who cares if they know anything of the joys and struggles?
Be true to yourself. Be true to the writer that you are.
...but with realizing our writer-ness, we also need to realize that what we write doesn't make or break us. What we can do doesn't define us.
This has been another recent challenge of mine recently.
I'm a control freak, I admit it. I have to know what is going to happen and how. I sometimes drive my mom crazy with my need to know what's going on=)
I was having a sort-of mini crisis recently. I was feeling like I can't write, so why try? I felt like everything I was putting down on paper was irrelevent and poorly stated. Of course, then I started comparing myself to other writers (the WORST thing a writer can do) and how successful they are.
Let me just say, I couldn't have read TINAWM at a better time!
But more importantly, I think I have been basing a lot of my worth in what I write. I have been basing my worth in how much people like what I write. I've been basing my worth in the success of her writing.
And then it hit me–I am SO much more than just a writer. There is so much more to me than being able to put words on paper.
I am a person, beautifully and wonderfully made. I was DELIBRATELY formed in my mother's womb. I have a purpose. I am kind, smart, and important (thank you, Aibileen). My dreams and mistakes don't make me. Neither past nor future defines me.
I am a human being, a daughter of God. Who happens to be able to write.
SO, today, remember this:
1. Don't cover up your writer-ness! Don't be a closet writer. Don't be a writer only when you're writer. Be a writer when it's comfortable and when it isn't.
2. There is so much more to you than what you're abilities are and are not. You are an incredible human being. With the gift of writing.
Shine as a human being. Shine as a writer.
What about you guys? Do you have any of these struggles?