Once in awhile I casually bring up being a writer into a conversation with someone. I grew up in a small town, but I go to school in a fairly large city, and yet regardless of where I am, the reaction is nearly always the same. First, they look a little surprised or put off, then they seem unsure of what to say, and finally, they usually say something nice. Now, whether or not that something nice is actually genuine or not is a different story.
What I don’t understand is why being a writer seems like such a peculiar concept to some people. Saying so doesn’t insinuate that I’m successful in any way, it simply means that I identify as an individual who writes regularly and most likely shares it with others. It also doesn’t tell you any information about the contents of my writing or my reason for writing.
Somehow I feel like people have lost sight of the importance of artistic expression. Writing, being one of the most common and beautiful forms of art, is simply one of them.
Being a writer means that you have found something in life worth sharing with others. It means that you want people to hear you, learn from you and understand you. Being a writer means that you want to express parts of you that you can’t seem to be able to place into spoken word or conversation. It’s not a title like author or poet, it is just a characteristic some of us choose to identify with.
I wonder what it will take for people to stop looking at me like I’m silly or wasting my time. Is it just me, do I not look like someone capable of writing or does this happen to all of us? I can’t seem to come to terms with the idea that people think sharing my life somehow makes me become less of a person instead of more of one.
As a writer, being able to express myself in this way has saved me more times than I can possible recall. Writing has allowed me to come to know myself and the world I live in. It has made me new friendships and triggered wonderful conversations and thoughts. It has taught me to allow the burden of life to sit on a piece of paper or a screen instead of on my shoulders.
Next time you think what I choose to do is useless work or a nuisance to your web page, remember what it felt like when you couldn’t find a way to reach out to the world around you and tell them you were in pain because writing cured that for me. More than anything, writing has taught me who in my life thinks I have a story worth telling and feelings worth expressing. Unfortunately, it has also taught me who hasn’t taken the time to get to know me as a person and understand why this is so important to me.
To all my fellow writers, I love hearing what you have to say. I love the courage behind your words. Most of all, I love how you choose to love yourself enough to share even the darkest times of your life with others. You understand that maybe, just maybe, by reading it will help guide them out of their dark times as well.