what is a real writer

I Write, Therefore I Am

Yesterday, I wrote about my New Year’s intention of helping myself more than others, and my dedication to creating the life that I want for myself.

To be clear, what that means to me is- I want to generate income from my writing so that I can travel and work from anywhere in the world.

I know a lot of folks who may think that’s a pipe dream. But tons and tons of people are doing it every day, and there is no reason why I can’t be one of those people.

When I got back from my trip to Bali, I committed myself to writing every single day, even if it’s terrible, even if I don’t post it. So far, I have kept that commitment (except for a couple days here and there over Stressmas and New Year’s holidays).

I have tried, so many times in the past, to have more self-discipline when it comes to my writing, but I had so much trouble making it a daily habit. I waited for inspiration to write, and sometimes then I wouldn’t even write! Part of that is because I had so much anxiety residing in me, which used up so much of my energy and focus, and replaced it with self-doubt and insecurity.

But the other reason it feels different this time is because I am approaching it differently. In the past I was “shoulding” all over myself. Now, I have a clear idea of what I want and am approaching it as if my life- the life that I want for myself- depends on it. Because it does.

I can’t expect to have a writing career if I treat writing like it’s a chore to be avoided. So now, with this new approach, I honor the craft and the time spent working on it. The more I stay with my daily commitment, the more my relationship to my craft deepens. I am slowly developing a reverence for all that it is and all the places it will take me. And now, my writing almost feels like it’s its own entity, like it’s a deity that presides over my life. It’s like my Mother Mary.

I show up at the altar of my art, and I say my prayers by putting words to the page. Instead of hearing the sounds of monks chanting, I meditate on the sound of my keyboard tapping as I type, feeling such joy and gratitude as the sound washes through me.

A lot of the self-doubt has been exorcised, but not entirely. It still shows up in funny ways. I am not immune to Imposter Syndrome. Whenever a friend tells me that I’m a good Writer or compliments any of my writing, I think some variation of- they’re just saying that to be nice.

I have been writing my entire life. Since the age of six years old I have been receiving praise for my writing skills. But for so much of my life I dismissed it. I knew I was good at it, but it wasn’t anything that I was interested in. My love was music. I’d write loads of song lyrics and poems, but it was always with the idea that I wanted to be involved in music.

Back in 2009 when I went through my big life transition/transformation, I realized that even though I love music and always will, it’s not what comes naturally to me. And, so often, what resonated with me the most were and are the lyrics, the words.

That’s why I love Hip Hop so much. It is the most brilliant, ingenious, clever, and intelligent use of words that music has to offer. And most Hip Hop has a really positive message to spread on top of that. I remember a few years ago an article circulated, (I think it was from the New York Times, but this is the closest I could find), which discussed a study on Hip Hop and the English language. The study concluded that Hip Hop employs a more complex use of the English language than Shakespeare. (I didn’t need a study to tell me that).

But I digress; I spent most of my life not believing that I could be a Writer, when I was, in fact, already a Writer.

And recently I became a member of the National Writers Union. It’s not the most exclusive club in the world and I didn’t think much of it, until I got my welcome packet in the mail, which included a membership card that I was not expecting. It was a proud moment for me, because it was one step closer to establishing myself as a professional Writer.

I posted about it on social media and I got all kinds of congratulations. But the whole time what kept running through my mind was- Any real Writers who see this will know that it’s not that big of a deal and the fact that I’m acting as if it is a big deal just proves that I’m not a real Writer.

I am literally a card-carrying Writer, yet I catch myself thinking that I’m not a “real Writer.” What does that even mean! Real Writer?

I write. Period. Therefore I am a Writer.

Having my daily practice helps to disengage that old, outdated belief, and reinforce the new belief that I am, in fact, a Writer- because I write. And showing up to work every day demonstrates my dedication and keeps the action and energy flowing in the direction I want to go.

Because, as I have said many times before, when I am living in my Truth, I am placing myself in the flow of all else that is true. And the more I show up to this life every day, the more I am actually in the life that I am creating.

And that feels pretty damn good.