I’ve been following some writers over the last year or so on Medium. I find it fascinating that people can make a living writing for Medium. So, I’ve been stalking them, reading their posts, seeing what it takes. I don’t think I have the chops for such writing. 3+ articles a day and vying for claps and followers. Makes my head spin.
But one of the writers put out there that writers need to identify our what and our why. There are many people out there, including experts on creating good habits, who claim you need to start seeing yourself as the thing you want to be not as someone who is trying to be that thing.
Thus, I have been trying to call myself a writer lately. I feel like a complete imposter just trying to fake ’til I make it. But since I am a writer, I should probably have a clear what and why.
Why do I write and what do I hope to accomplish?
I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. I kept diaries. I wrote letters to grandparents. I have a book of poems I wrote sometime around 3rd grade that wasn’t a school assignment. I even remember writing my mom a note after getting in trouble once trying to explain my point of view to her.
I feel as if I can articulate my thoughts better in writing.
I was at a meeting toward the end of the school year. It was just admin and the ELA team discussing ideas for next year. At the end of a good, but pretty data-heavy meeting, a reflection question was asked by our instructional specialist. We went around our circle to share our thoughts, we were able to pass, so I did because I honestly wasn’t sure what to say at that particular moment. But a few of my colleagues gave lengthy and thoughtful responses. I actually said out loud, “How do you guys know always know what to say?” I was mostly joking, but also not. I needed to write out my thoughts before I would have been comfortable sharing them.
So what exactly are my writing goals?
I want writing to be a part of my every day life. A habit each day like brushing my teeth. Since the new year, while it hasn’t been daily, it has definitely been regularly.
I want to publish a book someday. I have so many stories that I have started, but never finished or finished quickly and didn’t spend any time revising it. I want to finish one, revise it, and even if I just self publish 20 books to give to family and friends, that’ll be something.
Why do I write?
I love it. I feel as if I can articulate myself better in writing. I can be awkward and more of a listener when discussing big, important ideas in my life. I need time to think and process when given difficult, even difficult-ish questions. Oh sure I can come up with snarky or silly comments on the fly, but the big stuff? I need to write about that, get my thinking clear, and understand how I feel by writing it out.
I love the art of writing. There are a few favorite authors of mine that I when I read their writing I feel as if I sink into their words. They consume me. When listening to a good audio book the words wrap around me. It is my happy place.
It makes me feel better. I was given a journal by my Secret Santa a few years ago. At the time I was driving 40 miles to and from the school I was teaching at. Driving that distance, especially during the winter months, made me hyper aware of how many car accidents occur each year. It didn’t help that the MDOT programmable signs kept an updated number of how many accidents have happened on Michigan highways. It freaked me out. So I started using that journal to write to my kids, you know, just in case I ended up as one of those numbers on that sign. To be honest I haven’t been the best at writing in it as regularly as I hoped, but it makes me feel better recording our memories and my love for them.
Will writing ever actually be something I could call a career?
Who knows. Right now that isn’t my priority. Like I said earlier, the concept of it makes my head spin.
I remember ordering a book on how to become a writer when I was younger through our classroom book order. I don’t recall any of the sage advice it offered, but I remember feeling as if maybe this is something I could actually do as a job.
But then life goes in a different direction, yet the love of writing never disappeared, it was just around in other forms. Reading, journaling, writing lesson plans, and lists, and notes to students. Writing became a bigger part of my life again in 2011 once joining the Lake Michigan Writing Project and has only grown.
I write to think, to learn about myself, and to make connections. The piece I am working on is a story I feel the need to tell, and it might not get any further than being printed off and bound at Staples and given to my mom to read. But that’ll be enough for me. I’ll just find something else to write about.