I deleted everything from my website a few days ago, and I’ve started over. In my quest for publication and identity, I forgot why I write. In rebuilding my website, and trying to separate my identities, I came to a stark realization. I’m not doing this for money. I’m not doing this because I have to. I’m writing because I want to. I’m sharing my work because I want to.
When I was in college, I struggled with defining my audience. Was I writing for my teachers, peers, or someone else? My ideas were scattered. I sought praise and attention for my words, and I refused to write if I thought that the idea was crap. I gave up on so much. I gave in to the criticism of peers and I followed their suggestions. “Show, don’t tell” still haunts me. I tried so hard to write what I thought everyone else wanted me to write.
In short, I forgot why I started writing. I forgot why I took my very first creative writing class in high school with a fantastic teacher and mentor. I wrote for myself because I had words that needed to be written. I shared my work only because I wanted it to be read. And I wanted people to know what I had to say. It wasn’t until my senior year in college (once again with the help from a wonderful teacher and mentor) that I started to remember this. She guided me and answered my questions. I noticed that the published poets we read didn’t always follow the rules. They would tell. They would show. They would do whatever they wanted. And I began to understand I could do the same. Even then, I was still missing the mark.
A year after I graduated college, I began my Master’s degree. My journey continued. There were ups and downs. There are always ups and downs. I have learned that writing is a constant journey. It is a constant struggle of self. I remember many times were I simply could not bring myself to write. I didn’t feel like a writer. I don’t write everyday. I don’t read as much as I’d like. Lately, I haven’t read much of anything at all. But does that make me less of a writer?
Creativity is different for each person. That’s what makes it creative. Some writers can write constantly. They can read all the time. Others have moments, days, weeks of writing. And then just as long where they write nothing. They are no less writers. Published? Why should that matter in the definition of writer? Getting published is a great accomplishment. That will never be diminished. But it’s not a requirement for being a writer.
I am a writer. And I write for audience of one. I invite you to share in my journey and my words. I may yet seek traditional publication. I might self publish. But for now, I prefer to openly share my work with anyone willing to read it. And this blog works just fine.