One of the things I worry will happen as a result of having moved back home to small town Illinois is that I will lose sight of who I’ve grown to be in the years since I last lived here. I think that is evident from the many posts I’ve written on the subject here in this blog.
Specifically, I don’t want to lose sight of the identity that classifies me as a writer. I’ve moved from a city where serious, published, and talented writers abound. Finding a writer’s group with the same aspirations as you, and at relatively the same skill level, is not that difficult if you just look. The friends and acquaintances I knew there first knew me as an adult, as a writer, which affirms your own sense of self and helps you to maintain that image.
Living in the town I grew up in surrounds me with people who knew me in my “before” state. Many read some of the juvenile attempts at writing I produced then and most remember the immaturities and stupid things I did when I was younger. Few people here take my writing seriously and even fewer enjoy reading the type of writing I enjoy producing.
So how do I maintain my sense of self, my sense of “I am a writer?” The article I found today at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds gives me a blueprint to my future. Wake up. Get up. And write, damn it.
Writer means writing. Even if it’s just a moment in the narrative, even if it’s just one thought orchestrated and set gently on the page. An avalanche is snowflakes. An ocean is all droplets. Our life is measured in seconds, our work measured in words, and so you have to put the words down….
The words you write right now are words you can fix later.
The words you don’t write today are a curse, a hex, a black hole painted white.
You think that forcing it is counterproductive, that it means nothing, that you’ll just spit mud and blood onto the paper — and you might be right, but you might be wrong. Might be gold in them thar hills, might be a cure for what ails you in those droplets of blood. You don’t know. You can’t know. You’re you — your own worst judge, your own enemy, your greatest hater.
If you’re dying in the snow, no matter how much it hurts, you’ve gotta get up and walk.
If you’re drowning in the deep, no matter how hard it is, you’ve gotta hold the air in your lungs until your chest feels like it’s on fire and you’ve gotta swim hard for the surface.
Writing is the act of doing. Surviving. Living. Being.
From nothing into something. The word of the gods spoken aloud and made real, signal in noise, order in chaos, Let There Be Words and then there were Words.
On the days it’s hard to write are the days it’s most important to write.
That’s how you know who you really are.
That’s how you know this is what you’re meant to do.