Monday, March 28, 2011
The courage to call yourself a writer
My head has been hurting lately and my doctor, thinking it has to do with tension in my neck and shoulders, referred me to a physical therapy office for a massage. During the evaluation where they go over your symptoms and learn more about you, we had the following conversation:
PT: So what do you think might be some reasons for your recent neck and shoulder tension?
Me: Well I lift my baby a lot, and I think I sit awkwardly when I'm on the computer.
PT: You're on the computer a lot?
Me: A great bit of time, yes.
PT: Oh, I see here you're a lawyer, you have a home business?
Me: Um, no I'm not practicing at the moment.
PT: pauses. So then why are you on the computer so much?
Me: Well, I write.
PT: You write?
PT: So you write? Write what? Memos? Briefs?
Me: Um, no. I write. . . novels. . .
And my voice trailed off as I saw her incredulous expression.
Kristen Lamb encourages us to call ourselves writers, to not be ashamed of the title for it is only by owning it that we will actually see the dream of publication come true. And yet- though I've been paid for my writing, though I have an agent, and am hoping for publication- it feels so strange and foreign to explain to people that you are a writer. I get the same type of look as if I told them I sell doilies made of newspapers and hope to make a living out of it. A polite smile, and. . . befuddlement.
But people understanding or not, is not your problem- your job is to own who you are, be proud of it, and to take steps, active steps, to realize the vision you have for yourself. Us writers, are a notoriously procrastinating bunch, for as much as we love writing we seem to always find ways to get out of it- but its important not to get distracted- and to keep on keeping on- its the only way to succeed. My voice trailed off with the evaluator for my pain- but next time I will hold my head up high and own who I am and what I do.
As the masseuse finished my massage, I told her I was glad the headache was just a tension headache and not- and she cut me off before I could finish. Don't say it, she said. Don't put something like that out there into the universe- you never know when it could come back to you.
In addition to being a writer, which I already am, I hope to soon be a published author. There, that is me, putting that out there into the universe, hoping it will come back to me too.
Can you relate to this? Do you find a moment's hesitation when you have to tell someone you're a writer?
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