It’s that time again, time for another installment for Alec Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This week, I delve into the deep, dark recesses of the writer’s psyche – addressing the question we probably all ask, but don’t like to admit that we ask: Am I really a writer?
There’s probably not a writer who has not awakened in the middle of the night wondering why even bother – why am I calling myself a writer, exposing my innermost thoughts to total strangers, and opening myself to public criticism?
What person of sound mind does that – other than politicians, and I’m not at all sure that a person of sound mind choses to be a politician. You have to be a bit crazy to put yourself out there for the public to pick apart, right?
Of course, once I have that thought, I remember that I’ve always had a love affair with the written word. I’m the kind of person who would rather curl up somewhere with a good book, or lock myself away in my office and write than watch a football game. And, the few times I do watch football, I find myself mentally creating stories about football as it would be played in zero gravity, or on a field laced with hidden death traps. For me, the written word has always been the key that opens doors to imaginary worlds, and I have a compulsion to share those worlds with others. Before the invention of writing, people with such a compulsion were known as story tellers, and I imagine many of them were criticized for the stories they created.
After lying there, staring up at the dark ceiling for a few minutes, I realize that the question is moot. I’m calling myself a writer, because that’s what I AM. I can no more resist the urge to tell (write) stories than I can resist breathing. In fact, I can hold my breath longer than I can resist inventing some new story to tell. While I’m staring up at that ceiling – you guessed it – I think of another story, or a twist on an old story.
I do that because that’s what writers do. So, yes, I dare call myself a writer. I’m a writer, not just because I write, but because I MUST write. I’ll bet if you think about it, you feel the same. So, what are you waiting for? Get back to sleep. Let that story percolate in your dreams. Then, when you wake up in the morning, do the necessary, and hit that keyboard.
Do what you must do – WRITE! Because, you are a writer, and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.