I’m having a hell of a time thinking of myself as a writer.
I know, I know – if you write, however casually, you are a writer. I write a bit most days, I conduct serious research in pursuit of my book, I take classes and critiques, I tell people I’m writing a book. But I still can’t square these with having never been published, and only recently considering that this hobby could be more.
This situation is not entirely unfamiliar.
Fencing is my other great hobby*. I practice 3 days a week, take lessons, compete nationally, and have a rating (kind of like a belt in other martial arts). I may never be an Olympian, but I am an athlete. I wasn’t always though – when I started out 12 years ago I was a relative couch potato, fencing once a week to stave off weight gain.
What made the difference?
Among other things, getting good instruction and setting aside time for practice (instead of straggling to club only when I had “free time”), but I don’t think I would have done either of those things if I hadn’t been both obsessed with improvement and believed that I could improve. Simply taking my efforts seriously inspired more disciplined habits that helped the fencing: adopting a healthier diet, cross-training to improve strength and endurance, and finding the elusive persistence to keep going even when it was difficult.
Even so, it took me 12 years to call myself “athlete” without laughing:
doG only knows what it will take for me to ever feel worthy of the label “writer”, but at least I’m going through the correct motions. I may never be a bestselling author, but I will be (am?) a writer.
*I also sew/costume, but lately it’s taken a back seat to the writing. File under: not enough hours in the day.