A lot of my clients are writers. It’s not just what they do – it’s who they are.
I am the same way. When I’m not writing, it bothers me. When I have resistance to writing, it is actively frustrating and upsetting. Non-writers would say – hey, if you can’t get yourself to write, just don’t write, right?
No. Apparently that is not a solution.
I was working on a speech recently, and I was trying to think of why and when I came to think of myself as a “writer.” I’ve had this impression since I was a young girl. Maybe teachers said it… I know my mom encouraged us all to write. Other people had play kitchens or tool benches? We had a writing desk with a working typewriter in our playroom. There was also an enormous dictionary on a lectern. If you asked what something meant, or how to spell it, the answer was always: “Look it up.” We’d have to climb on a chair to reach the book stand. That dictionary on a pulpit, was literally the altar of our youths.
So I was letting myself remember things that led me to feel like a writer, and one thing I remembered and wrote down was the name: “Hitty.”
I wonder how many of you remember the book “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.” It was a Newbery Award Winner, and a great book, about a doll who had lived 100 years, had many owners, met President Lincoln, and even lived inside a whale for awhile.
The book is written from the doll’s point of view. She remembers being whittled to life, and when they first painted her eyes, so she could see the world.
I didn’t know how or why Hitty contributed to my feeling like a writer as a young girl, so I reread it. And then I remembered why. I distinctly remember thinking the thought – “Well, if a doll can write a book, I probably can too.”
Yeah, that checks out. Solid logic. My sister asked, “Didn’t you read ‘Black Beauty?'” Apparently… if a horse can write a book, you probably can too.
I wonder as I write this, what makes you think you’re a writer? And what feelings arise when you doubt the legitimacy of that claim? It can be pretty painful to think the thought, “Maybe, I’m just not a writer.” What gives us the courage to call ourselves writers, and write? In “Real Artists Have Day Jobs,” Sara Benincasa said it was easy for her, because when she was a little a grown-up told her, “You’re a writer.” A grown-up said it, so she never questioned it. Well, I’m a grown-up, and I can tell you: If you have trouble deciding whether or not you’re a writer, you probably, definitely are. If you weren’t, that question wouldn’t trouble you in the least.