When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Writer
I vividly remember the day I proclaimed to the world that I was going to be a writer when I grew up. Being no more than three feet tall with a mouth full of bubblegum, I had composed my first poem and man it was good! And ever since that day, I just KNEW, all the way down to my Kangaroo tennis shoes, that I was destined to be a writer. Look out Beverly Cleary, here comes ME!
So let's fast forward about 25 years ahead to today. Sure, I have a few more poems written (ah, what a broken heart can do for the portfolio, eh?), and a collection of clips from my tryst with a small town newspaper, but other than my personal journals and blogs, I really haven't done a lot to live up to my promise to the world made so many years ago. (And by the way world, why aren't you asking where I've been?) So, lately I've had to really ask myself why this is. If I am indeed a writer, why on Earth am I not, you know, writing?
There are a couple reasons that stand out, including fear. Despite the fact I've been told I'm wonderful with words, I just don't see it (and I'm still paying off the bill for that Lasik surgery). But what I discovered recently is that maybe, just maybe, I haven't been focusing on the right type of writing for me. I was under the assumption that all writing was created equal and if I was writing, well then, I'm supposed to be happy! Somewhere along the line, my original Sweet Pickles dreams became ones of fame and being on the New York Times bestseller list. Now, I'm not saying it's impossible (my goodness, have you read some of those on that coveted list? Not always literary masterpieces, my friend), but the problem became one of me chasing a goal rather than living the process.
I began exploring different types of writing and still thought the way to my writing heart was to have a byline. Glossy magazines, perhaps? Nah. How about trade magazines? Goodness no. These are wonderful types of writing for some folks but really, it's just not me. So really, what then?
More exploring. More journaling. More bad poetry (thankfully, I never aspired to be another Maya Angelou). I saw several writing doors right in front of me still and just didn't know which one was the door for me to walk through. Then, I went to a women's writing group and after just one meeting with them, I realized what sort of writing I was to be doing (sure beats the co-pay for a weekly therapist and you get good feedback, too!). I'd been whittling away at a book with writing exercises for quite sometime, took it to the group, and realized that the most fun I had was when I took on the voice of that little girl running around in pink Kangaroos and a mouth full of Bazooka Bubblegum. I'd let my Beverly Cleary dreams be eclipsed by notions of Oprah's Book Club.
So, you see, I've been concentrating for all these years about what I'd be when I grew up, but in fact it was in me when I was just three feet tall.
Have you put your voice in the corner for a permanent time out? Maybe it's time you let her come back out to play.