A black binder full of my poetry sits on the bottom shelf of my bookcase…
A bound copy of a poetry anthology sits on that shelf as well with one of my poems published in it….
(Both items hidden away so others will not see them!)
A blog post of mine has been shared by the ELCA on their site “Living Lutheran”…
And I have two blogs….one specifically for my writing and the other being my main blog.
Yet I still only can seem to muster the words, “Oh I like to write” OR “Writing and/or Blogging is a Hobby.” But I still do not and cannot seem to identify myself as a writer!
When I was little, my mom said I was a kid who was happy with pen and paper and not with toys. I was content to sit and pour words out onto a page for others to read. As I got older, I loved my creative writing classes and my English classes which led to me getting a Communications degree when I headed off to college. I have a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism and an English minor.
One would think that those credentials in and of themselves would qualify me and help me to identify as a writer…but they don’t. I still struggle to find those words: “I am a writer!” So often I find that I get caught up in the comparison game. So and so’s blog is so much better and prettier than mine. So and so writes more eloquently than I do. But what I need to remember is that it isn’t about comparing my words to others because my words are simply that: “my own words”.
Several years ago, I joined a writing group at my local library. I was excited to meet new people outside of work and was hoping to share my words with others and hone my craft. One evening, I chose to share a poem I had written sharing my families struggle with mental illness. As I finished reading, one of the other participants lit into me: “Do your family members know what you are writing about? How dare you write about this subject?” I ran out of that room as quickly as possible, put on my coat, and ventured out in the bitter North Dakota cold straight to my car. I opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat where the tears immediately began to flow. I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number for my colleague. I was crying so hard by the time he answered the phone that he had to tell me to breathe. This woman had literally taken the wind out of my sails and I now questioned even more if God was calling me to write; let alone be a writer.
Over the next several days, weeks, months, and years, I have had to learn from that experience. I have realized that so often my words have been words of healing for me…and for others and not words of pain. I have come to realize that for me often my words have been the bravest words I have shared because they have opened up my own vulnerability. I have come to also realize that my words embody my story and continually remind me of who and whose I am. I have also come to realize that my words are a gift from God! And trusting in that gift, I am trying to find the courage to utter those four simple words “I am a writer!”
I’ll admit that more often than not I have a hard time receiving this gift, but the truth is that God has empowered so many of us to write. I hear others including my friends and family call me a writer, but I still have a hard time believing them. Their words are gift, yet so often I don’t hear them at all. My ears need to be open to hearing the voice of God proclaiming to me and to so many of us “You are indeed a writer. I gifted you to be able to share your story through words. Your words are not a waste!”
It is extremely scary and vulnerable to utter those four simple words. Yet as dear Holley Gerth states: “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little.” So even though it still scares me to let those four simple words come out my mouth, I am going to lean into them, keep writing and continue saying them until hopefully I believe them for myself.
I AM A WRITER!
I am linking up with my favorites today–Kate Motaung and her series On Being A Writer, Holly Barrett and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Holley and Coffee for Your Heart, and Jennifer and Tell His Story.