I’m going to take a pause from my usual sarcasm and wit to get a little mushy. Don’t worry – this will be a rare moment. I find it more difficult to regurgitate my deep felt emotions than I find pretty much anything else. This little ditty is something I wrote months ago – but was a little hesitant to share for fear my small audience would actually think I cared – which I totally don’t by the way.
What does it mean to be a writer? As someone who dares to write I can tell you this is a question that plays through my mind often. Is it enough to just put words to a page – or is there something more to it? What makes others want to even read what you put out there in the public space?
After a quarter lifetime of writing (with some now unimaginable lulls between mental purges) — I think I finally have some vague notion of what makes a writer more than someone who just happens to write.
Being a writer means using your words to forge connections. Not just to draw conclusions or create imagery – but to establish personal connections. Both with people who already know and love you – and those who you have never even met. You lay yourself bare upon the page and just pray your inadequacies are accepted for all their imperfection – because flaws create character, and character is beautiful.
It wasn’t until I undertook the task of putting my writing in the public space that I started to understand how truly powerful writing can be. After about a month (quite a few more now), I think my true voice as a writer started to come through – and that is when the connections began to faintly, but surely, emerge.
I imagined by friends and family would read my posts and offer their obligatory compliments (because they love me and it’s stated in the rules somewhere), but then something else happened. Something that I wasn’t expecting at all.
My BFF called me up after one of my posts which involved baking – the much loved ‘slut’ brownies – and said she absolutely had to bake something now. What was that? Did my writing actually inspire action? It was either my words or the tantalizing illustration, but either way, my “art” was suddenly inspirational.
Next came the unexpected followers – an old high school acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years, the casual work acquaintance that I hardly spoke to aside from the usual office grumbles, and then the relatively new social acquaintances who were more facebook friends than actual friends. These people with whom I had limited-to-zero interaction over the years began to comment on my writing. They told me how they couldn’t stop reading, how it made them laugh, how they had to show it to their friends and make them read it too, how those friends now wanted to actually know me, how they found my posts so relatable. Me relatable? Hah. If you do in fact know me, you know my social ability is slightly above that of a mute Eskimo.
Despite the fact that our generation is plugged into social media 24/7 – this is the first period in my life where I’ve actually felt connected.
I have a community – people that I am slowly getting to know and who are helping me to define and grow my identity as a writer, and as a person. It is truly an incredible and rewarding experience, and I thank each and every one of you for reading.