I was volunteering a few mornings ago and was paired with another volunteer to handle a group. While waiting for the students to arrive, we struck up a conversation. He told me that he was a writer and I said that I was also a writer.
It doesn’t seem that risky of a risk, but it felt risky to me. I’ve introduced myself as a writer before; I’ve even introduced myself to others at this organization as a writer. But that morning the words seemed clunky and odd as I spoke them.
We talked some more and realized that we were both beginning writers. I let him know about the storytelling event that I did the previous evening and he let me know about the class he was about to take. It was nice, talking with another writer in an unexpected situation. But I still found myself questioning if that statement was valid: I am a writer.
I always feel like such a fake when I say it aloud. When I introduce myself as such, people want to know what kind of writer I am or what I’m working on. Those are such difficult questions to answer, being as I’m still exploring those questions myself. Lucky for me, this guy didn’t ask me those questions. I think he saw that exploratory nature in me that I was seeing in him.
In pondering on this a little more, I can see that my hesitation to assign a title is due to a recent unpacking of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I’m focused a lot on improving at the moment, so real creative writing has not been a regular part of my practice. I don’t feel like a writer right now; I feel like a student.
Scholars and philosophers and all other sorts of brainy people would say this is a good thing, that we should spend our lives being eternal students to the world or universe or something. But I’m impatient. I want to be better now, and while I know it’s a process and I need to give it time, I’m sick of the whole “journey is the destination” mindset. I want change now (insert a five-year old with crossed arms and scowl)!