I was going through old blog posts, and I found something very interesting. Two of you may know that Observations of the Ordinary is not my first blog. I used to keep a Live Journal in college. I can’t remember why I stopped keeping it, but when I did, I made sure to save all my posts as Word documents. And tonight I was scanning through them, and I saw one from 2006 titled “I Want to Be a Writer”. I thought I’d re-post it here, just for fun.
I want to be a writer. But that’s all I know so far. I don’t really know what I want to write – what genre – I just know that I want to write. All of the good writers say that if you want to be a writer, you need to write every day. I don’t know that I am that disciplined, but I do seem to have the desire/motivation to write a couple times a week. I figure I can force myself into writing the other days of the week. That doesn’t worry me because all the good writers say that’s what they have to do, too.
Aside from loving words and loving to learn and the many other healthy reasons I have for wanting to write, I want to be able to say, “I’m a writer,” to people when they ask what I do for a living. I guess, technically, I wouldn’t be able to say that I do it for a living until I get published (and some chump actually buys my book). But, nonetheless, when I’m at a business dinner with my husband, playing the supportive wife role as he and his cronies talk insurance, I want to have a response other than, “I work part time at a bookstore,” when they look to me and say, “And what do you do?”
I imagine it all going down like this.
“What do you do?” someone inquires. “I write – I’m a writer,” I answer, slightly ticked off because all writers are moody.
“Oh, really? That’s fascinating!” the person responds, because everyone is in awe of writers.
I think most people put people who write for an occupation on a pedestal because everyone wishes they could sit at home in their underwear and get paid handsomely (or even just moderately) to type out a few pages everyday. It all seems so glamorous. That and writers are always perceived as having a mysteriousness and a sense of importance about them that is usually unjustified. I know it will be in my case when I become a writer.
“I write – I’m a writer,” I’ll say.
“And what types of things do you write?” the pleasant stranger will probe.
That’s the question I can’t answer right now. Well, that’s not true. Right now I write reflections on life – God, Christianity, sports, stupid people, my family, getting older, poop – you know, the stuff of life. But one day I might write some fiction or a memoir or a kids’ book or music reviews for a magazine. I might even delve further into the realms of poetry and devotionals, which I’ve explored in the past. Basically, the sky is the limit on the types of things I might write. So, when Joe Schmo asks me, the occupational writer, “What types of things do you write?”, I fear that I will give him a deer-in-the-headlights look, and, in turn, the idea that I really don’t write at all, that when I say I am a writer what I’m really saying is I’m unemployed and just don’t feel like admitting it to Joe.
I guess I need to formulate the answer I’ll give when Joe’s ask me what types of things I write.
I guess I’ll say, “I mostly write observations of and reflections on daily life.” When I whip out that serious yet vague response, I suppose Joe will make some dull joke about how I will never run out of material. And I’ll have to return the humorless-joke-ball Joe served right back into his court by responding with something about always having job security. Hopefully the interrogation will end there – hopefully.
If Joe continues to speak, the next question out of his mouth will most certainly be, “Where have you been published,” followed almost immediately by the cordial (but probably completely untrue), “I’d love to read some of your stuff sometime.”
I hear that most writers don’t get published for at least the first five years that they write “professionally”. I also hear that even if you do get published, it could be years before anyone actually discovers/buys/tells their friends to buy your book. If my math (and my hearsay) is right, I can count on spending the next 7-48 years having to tell Joe that I’m not published anywhere yet, but that he is welcome to come over to my house and rummage through my journals anytime. Joe will probably suddenly feel like he’s put his foot in his mouth and will immediately regret having asked me about being published. In order to save face, he’ll probably lie and say he just might have to take me up on that offer and then tell me to “hang in there” on the getting published thing. Then he’ll leave as quickly as he can so as to end this most awkward conversation.
Despite having to deal with Joe’s (who, in real life, could be anyone from my family members to strangers I meet in the subway [I’ve always wanted to use that phrase, even though the nearest subway is at least a 7 hour drive from here, but, since I’m the writer, I’ll go ahead and use it]), I still really want to write. I just like to write. That’s it. I think it is fun most of the time, and I really like sitting around my house in my underwear.
So, if you take anything away from this little article, I hope it’s this: always call before coming over to my house.