Or, everyone is a writer. (Saying.)
Is everyone a freakin writer?
Lately, seems to me that the answer to that one would be a big fat YES!
I look around and everyone I know is writing. Some every day, first thing, top priority. Some when the mood strikes them. Some with new blogs they’re starting to fill with content.
And the truth is, due in large part to this little thing we call The Internet, anyone can be a writer. Sometimes regardless of whether they can actually put a sentence together. If a writer is one who writes, then anyone can be a writer. Unlike medicine, or law or banking or teaching or parenting for that matter, writing is off-limits to no one.
Others around me or in my space are having breakthroughs and seeing the light of “I am a writer, have been all along and this is what I am meant to do/be”
On one hand, I love that writing is still a major way and for many the way to find peace, get your voice heard (and find it first), vent and for some to make money. For me, it has been and still is all of those things (and more). And as I move into this new stage of my career and my writing life, one of my main focuses is to develop a program not to teach (because you all and they already know how) but to guide and uncover the ways for people to do this through writing. So by definition, I need to believe that everyone who so desires is (or can be) a writer.
The other part of me, though, is like How can this be? Everyone is a writer? Um, excuse me, but if everyone else is doing it, how is mine possibly special or unique? Am I just a jealous bitch who can’t stand to see others do what I thought I did best? Or has this whole “Writer Thing” gotten out of control?
A few months ago, uber-author Garrison Keillor wrote on this very same topic. From its title “When Everyone’s An Author, No One Is” to its point, it is perfect (cough, cough, f***, f***, cough, cough)
“And if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a website. And if you want to write a book, you just write it, send it to Lulu.com or BookSurge at Amazon or PubIt or ExLibris and you’ve got yourself an e-book. No problem. And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”
It’s not like I am something else plus a writer. I’m not a CPA or a professional athlete or a cashier or a bus driver and, oh yea, also a writer. This is my business and for better or for worse, my business has been inextricably and utterly bound to my entire identity for at least the past decade. (My business is supposed to pay the bills, too.)
I. Am. A. Writer. Period. And by “period” I mean – I don’t have a fall back, folks.
And the fear part of me asks “Is there enough room for you and for all of these other people who are also writers and essentially doing the very same thing you are? Who would pay for what seems to be free all over?
There is something about writing that is at once intensely private and totally utterly nakedly out there for the world to see. Maybe that is why I am even having this internal dialogue. I mean, I am sure oncologists or labor attorneys or sanitation workers or teachers don’t sit around asking themselves and each other, “There are so many of us out there, is there enough to go around?”
And that is really the crux of the fear. The “enough” part:
Is there enough?
Is there enough interest in what I am writing, especially when all of these other people are writing similar things?
Are there “enough’ people who will pay for this writing? Cuz that’s what I’m selling and if everyone has what I am selling well then who is buying?
Then I move on to, Are they really writers? And what makes a “real” writer? Do you have to get paid for it? Do you have to have an audience for it? Did you have to be trained or have a college or graduate degree in something related to writing? Is it the practice of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) enough to make you a real writer?
Am I good enough? Am I enough??
Yes, that old “Am I enough?” question….I know it well.
There are many writers whom I see as as good or better than I am. They (including some of you) have moved me and wowed me and awed me. I’m proud of you, respectful and, yes, sometimes envious. Your book site is way better set up than mine. Your blog is more conducive to a blog of a writer than mine. You are more consistent than I am. You’re more prolific than I am. You have an agent. You write a column. You have a book deal.
So what the fuck am I doing?!
Jesus, I have NO idea!
Then I say something, in my worst moments of doubt and question, to my best friend or my boyfriend and they remind me….we are all different. I am different. This time is different. No one has my unique voice. Write it, they tell me, focus on what you are meant to do and the rest will happen. Other reminders: When it comes to writing, “they” are not my concern, even if “they” are my friends, my mentees or mentors or my peeps. And, yes, there is room for everyone.
The more I worry, the less I write. The less I write, well, the less I write. And if writing is what I “do” and being a writer is who I “am,” then for fuck’s sake why am I wasting time on this stuff?!
The questions, nagging shit and fear will not go away. Nope. Nor will the competitive “what are they doing that I am not?” crap or the “I know I am better than he/she is” equally competitive crap. The only way to even begin to think I can counter any of that (remember, it isn’t going away) is just to write. More specifically, don’t judge, just write. Write. Write. Write.
Go write, because chances are you are a writer too, right?
So what are you waiting for?