When doing a Google search on "What is a writer" I came across a very interesting article about writers, what we perceive as a writer, and the fact that writers often have something called submission block rather than writers block. While reading the article, I couldn't help but identify myself with the article.
What is a writer?
Is a writer someone learned and wise, lots of education under their belts? Is a writer organized and neat, knowing exactly where the stories they write are going to take them and have each project tucked neatly into its own folder, awaiting completion? Does a writer write every day? Have writers lived through war and famine, horror and turbulence? Are real writers confident and driven? None of those seem to apply to me, so how could I be a real writer? But my doubts ran deeper than that. My doubts were not only in my lack of the typical "writer" traits as I saw them, but in my actual writing itself.
Writing has always been easy for me, but that doesn't mean it's good. When something is simple and easy, it's often too good to be true. If it's that easy for me to do, then it couldn't be that special or good. It couldn't be unique if it flows from my fingers like water. Do I even have my own particular writing style? It seems that people enjoy reading my blog according to the comments I get from people I know and by the number of readers I find on the status counter every day, but yet only people I know leave comments on the blogs or stories, so maybe others aren't enjoying them as much as I would hope.
I've wanted to be a writer as long as I could remember. I used to write stories in class and then read them to friends out on the playground. I would be one of the first to raise my hand when it came to reading an essay or short story assignment to the class. Friends always loved it, acquaintances would smile, and lesser contacts would jeer and poke fun at my writing - but my friends always liked it. Or did they? Did my friends back then tell me white lies just to make me happy and to not hurt my feelings? I may never know the answer to that question.
I had a hand-written book that I worked on for almost 2 years before it was finished. While it was stolen from me (along with everything else) in the summer of 2009, I remember sitting down to write in it one day at work. A young 15 year old girl I had befriended sat and asked what I was writing. She asked if she could read some of it, and within the next couple of days, a half hour at a time, she read everything I had written to that point in time. Afterward, she confessed that she hated reading but couldn't seem to put my book down. She said it was like reading a diary - she knew details about me that nobody else knew when she was done reading it. She had been a troubled teen, constantly fighting with her parents, into drugs and alcohol... and she decided to change her ways because of what she read, so she claimed. Not long after that I left the job and I never saw her again, but I dearly hope that she did as she said she would.
But while my stories are given praise here and there, my writing style complimented on occasion by people I know, is it unique enough, special enough, exciting enough to ever be published?
You never know unless you try, right?
Probably my biggest encouragement has come from my NEW family, the people I've learned to depend on and trust and love in this far away place. It's not for ME that I made a huge step forward yesterday, but for them... for the praise and encouragement they have shown me. Yesterday, by 3 O'clock in the afternoon, I had submitted stories to two different writing competitions.
While Submission Block is a real thing, it's something I didn't realize I possibly faced until I found that random article on a Google search yesterday. It's just one more fear I need to conquer. The best part is, I didn't know I had it until it was time to get over it. I've already made the first steps, with MANY more to come.
For a year now my writing has focused on the 365 project any time I thought about my writing. Well, the project is done and it's time to focus myself on my writing in a different way. I WILL be a published author in some form within a year.
Wish me luck... I may need a lot of it!
Submission #1 - The Shack in the Woods
Submission #2 - Haunting Blue Eyes