I wanted to share my thoughts on this. Maybe it is just me or I am a little slow but until recently I never realized there was a difference in those two statements.
I have said the words “I am writing” for years. I have been writing everything from simple poems to this trilogy for the last 20 years. I always considered myself a writer because of it. I always knew that someday I would get around to getting published when I was done being a single mom, had a job that I made decent money at so I didn’t have to stress about being a single mom, and the list of excuses went on and on.
Two years ago I was called home to take care of my mother who had been given 6 months to live. One night we got on the subject of my “being a writer” and she said something to me that changed my entire perspective. She looked at me and said “Dreams don’t come true unless you are Cinderella, baby girl. Only you can make your dream your reality.”
My beloved mother became very ill a few short weeks after she made that statement and I had to place her in the hospital. She never came home again but her words drove themselves deeper into my very being as I watched her slip farther and farther away. My final tribute to her is to see if I can make this dream a reality.
Needless to say I dug out the three binders a few days after that conversation and decided it was time to stop dreaming. I wrote the first notes for The Enemy Within over 20 years ago and over the years I added to it until it became a trilogy but I never had the discipline to finish it.
In a random moment I contacted a vanity press and to my surprise they wanted the manuscript. Luckily I have learned that it is not the direction I even want to consider but it forced me to finally finish the books. As I struggled to do that I realized why I never finished them before. It was no longer fun it was work.
That was when I realized a strange metamorphosis began to happen. As I struggled with the need to meet this invisible deadline the work became a sense of pride. That chapter that finally flowed , the conversation that changed everything, the scene that made you cry or scream or cheer.
I was having people read chapters for me and they were begging for more so I would stay up half the night to accommodate them. People were even stopping me in the street and telling me that they starting buying the paper again because of my articles. I started to realize that I had the power to reach people in a way I never knew I had.
I also began to realize I had a responsibilty to put forth the best effort my ability allowed. To do that meant more work but I was determined to find out what that ability was. To do that I had to be willing to expose myself and ironically enough the more I have exposed myself the more stonger I have become. I have gone from hiding my work in a drawer to eagerly waiting for that critique so that I can learn and adapt.
Now I don’t feel I am anywhere near the point I can consider myself a professional but I am beginning to realize there is a difference between “I am writing” and “I am a writer” : One is the act of doing and the other is a sense of being. Anyone can write a few words but a true writer can change a reader’s world in just a few words.