Remember when my mom said “What would you do if you could do anything at all?” and I didn’t know? I built a vision board, I so didn’t know.
I figured it out this weekend. You’ll never guess what my heart’s desire is!
But that’s not really fair— you don’t know me. So here’s a little about me.
I won my first writing award at age 7 or 8. I was always really good at English. I won my first cash prize for writing in middle school and was also published nationally at around the same time. Everyone always told me I should be a writer.
In high school, I fought really hard to excel in writing. I was part of a writing club. I double-majored in English and Writing in college, worked in the Writing Lab, wrote for the newspaper, was published repeatedly in the literary magazine (except for the year that I edited it, when I thought it wouldn’t mean very much for me to submit something) including after I graduated.
I wrote on the side after college. I’ve written freelance. I wrote for the magazine I ultimately edited. I helped other people write, as an editor. I’ve written more than 300 blog posts here and heaven knows how many things other places. I’ve recently been designing places for me to write in my house.
Grey-area guy told me all the time when we were dating that I should be a writer. People have been giving me blank books to help me be a writer since I was 9.
This weekend, I felt like I was getting clear warnings that I’d better start writing or else. I listened to podcasts while I was walking the dog, while I was cooking, etc., and all of them led me to the conclusion that I was supposed to get off the dime and start writing the book that I’ve not been working on.
But what, oh what should I do with my life?!
I was literally in church praying about it yesterday. What could it be, Lord? What could you want me to do with my life? when I got a bolt out of the blue.
“You should be a writer, stupid!” (The stupid was implied.)
So here’s the thing. I obviously knew that, not even subconsciously. But I’ve always thought I’d be a writer someday. You know, when I was married and raising kids. Or when I retired. Or when I hit the lottery (I do not play the lottery.) And what I figured out is that I can’t wait for someday. It’s the life I want now. Marriage and kids may or may not happen. Retirement may or may not happen. I need to write right now.
Ideally speaking, I’d write as my primary job. My mother was sorry she asked me, when I told her. She is as worried about my security as I have been my entire adult life. I assured her that I’m not quitting my day job, but I need to stop putting writing off. At a certain point, I’m going to actually write something I want to send into the world, and I’ll have done none of what I need to do to prepare myself. For example, an anonymous blog of whatever is on the top of my mind has been great practice for writing more regularly, which I totally needed, and it made me safe being somewhat vulnerable (as vulnerable as you can be hiding behind a curtain), but it’s not a platform. It’s not me practicing the form I’ll eventually use. Morning pages, which I also do with some regularity (which is to say something less than daily and more than randomly), not the point. Thinking about novels and wondering if I could even write them, while not actually writing them? Not the point.
I’m going to suck it up, now, and do what I was always supposed to do. I’m not always this thick, just when it counts.