declaration

Last spring I had an epiphanie.  I decided I was going to turn something I love, writing, into something that could sustain my family.  I was going to find away.  I felt like I’d discovered some kind of secret key to the Universe.  Except, I was coming at it all wrong.

Essentially, I set a goal to use my writing, a skill and passion I’ve had my whole life, to make money.  It’s not a bad goal.  It’s not even terribly lofty if you’re willing to do a lot of leg work. The problem was, I still couldn’t say “I am a writer”.

When people asked what I was ‘doing’ with my time (you know, aside from maintaining a household and caring for an infant, 6 year old and 11 year old), I got brave enough to say something like “oh, I’m doing some freelance writing” in an offhanded, almost flippant way that seemed to satisfy most people.  But it still felt like a lie because deep down, I didn’t really believe I could be successful because I didn’t really believe I was “a writer”.

There were a couple pretty big barriers to me owning the title of ‘writer’.  The first was/is my self-esteem and gaggle of inner critics who grew strong through my adolescence under my father’s careful tending.  I have long been letting them ‘rule the roost’, if you will.  I’ve held this subconcious belief that if I could get my father to understand me and to be proud of me, the inner critics would simple whither away and die, like magic.  The problems with this solution were: it’s not going to happen and, even if it did happen, my inner critics would not just vaporize.  Nice try.

For the last few months, I’ve been working hard at disconnecting from the need for his approval.  I’ve been striving to get to a place where I don’t need anyone’s approval to be who I am.  I don’t need permission to breath, why do I believe I need permission to BE?

The other barrier to me owning that title is that I don’t write.  Well, I do, write, here and there.  I throw up a blog post once in a while; I started another blog about food allergies that I regularly post on.  But the practice isn’t there.  I don’t make the time and space for writing.  I keep waiting for permission. I keep waiting for someone to make the time for me.

It’s time for me to take the time.  Even before I was a mother, I was always giving of myself.  There is nothing inherently wrong with giving, and I like being seen as generous and kind, but when giving comes at the expense of the self or with an attachment to the outcome (again, a need for approval) then it is essentially disingenuous and ultimately draining.

I owe it to myself to take the time to write.  Writing has always been so deeply important to me.  I have at times felt myself grieving over the loss of such an important part of who I am when I wasn’t writing at all. I don’t ever want to feel that again.

I have decided I will not heeding Jeff’s request to declare that I am a writer to anyone else.  I am completely eschewing the need for outside validation.  If I were to declare to an other that “I am a writer”, regardless of who it was, I would still be too attached to the outcome.  It doesn’t matter if the other person believes in me.  I need to believe in myself.  Isn’t that the secret key to the Universe?

So here you have it, I am a writer.  I believe it.  And now, I’m going to start acting like it.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh I so know what you mean! For me to be able to say to myself “I am an artist” I had to register myself as a business. I couldn’t believe it any other way even though I have been all my life. When it comes to the field of the arts, whether it be writing, painting or performing, people tend to downgrade it unless you are making money. They dismiss it if you don’t have the proof upfront. This is proven by the fact that our governments don’t give much funding to the arts, and also the fact that when schools are short of money the first thing to get cuts is the arts department. In my eyes the arts is just as important as something like the medical field. We need creativity to survive.

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  2. Sometimes yoy gotta just do it. I have been pretty open about my struggles as far as earning money with writing, granted I do have one steady gig that pays and its not grantwriting! I started blogging 4 yrs ago and I had so many fears, but even if I could only devote 10 minutes I just committed to writing something and posting it, eventually it becomes a habit.

    I do think the key is to believe in yourself, the things I struggle with are all things where I admit I don’t believe in myself, or I easily get off track.

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