This blog is being written for the PFAM Blog Carnival hosted this month at Bed, Body and Beyond.
I don't always refer to myself as a writer because I have had long periods in my life when I was not writing. At the moment I am most definitely a writer.
When I think back over the times I have identified as a writer a few moments stand out. Back in the early 1990's I was reading a bunch of lesbian detective novels, read toss, read toss, read toss... I was burning through them. Then one day I just thought, "I could write a better book than this!" So I sat down and wrote a novel. It was never published, I didn't really try, the act of completing it was the reward. Then I went back to school and got a degree in Administrative Leadership and one of my professors chose to publish two of my academic papers in his course books for the following two years. I clearly remember sitting in the heat dressed in cap and gown and the young man beside me saying he had read my papers and he said "How do you make it all make sense? Are you a writer or something?" His question brought me up short and made me think.
Am I a writer? I had taken for granted, up til then, the ability I have to express cohesively in this written word form. That was the beginning of my awakening as regards writing. That was the moment when I began to realize that not everyone can do this. Since that time I have written millions of words. Another novel (unpublished by choice), a business book (published), hundreds of short articles for various outlets, countless presentations, seminars, speeches, and masses of marketing materials (I rather like alliteration!). Gradually I have come to realize just how fortunate I am to have this gift. I take praise of my writing with grace but also with rebuttal as I really think it is a gift and I have only made a minuscule effort to refine it. I'm just lucky. I can write anything (except songs which always turn out so corny that I embarrass myself!), technical writing, creative writing, short, long, fact, fiction, academic, irreverent, poetry, prose -- pretty much anything I want to do. I'm just very lucky.
So why do I write? I write because I can. I write because it helps me to clarify my thoughts. I am a verbal processor. My ideas and thoughts coalesce as I express them and for me writing is a verbal communication in that I write the way I talk. People who know me who have read any of my books tell me that they feel I am sitting beside them reading aloud - my voice is very evident.
I write to process, I write to share, I write to soothe myself, I write to make myself smile, I write to show my love, I write to reveal my heart, I write to enlighten, I write to pass the time, I write to analyze. Most of all I write because I can, because I was given a gift that I have not earned and I think it would be neglectful of me to squander it.