I had lunch with a new colleague today. We both have a thing about writing...we like to do it, we want to do it, but we are having trouble sticking to the "write every day," schedule. The usual excuses came up over lunch, "It's hard to get home after a long day at the office and work on your own writing." "It's easy to put it off until the weekend and then not do it at all." And, my favorite, "If the inspiration doesn't strike me..." By the end of our meal, we'd agreed to nudge each other on a regular basis and be writing buddies. Yes, I know I already have T as a writing buddy, but right now, I'm thinking you can't have too many.
I'm starting to realize there are more writers around here than I thought there were. I know the city is loaded with journalists, authors, professors, etc, who have all been published over magazines and newspapers. Hell, there are plenty of people around here who make a good living writing books. Can you believe it? Books! I have always been intimidated by these people, maybe because I think they know something I don't about writing (like how to get published). They get paid to write and, for the most part, people read their work. They seem so far ahead of me, so literary. It seems effortless for them. I know it's not, I know it's a perception. I'm working on getting over it and it's getting easier. Over the last few months, I have come across more people who aren't just working writers, but are working at writing. I am building relationships with writers. Finally. I'm not even seeking them out. I'm just talking about what I'm doing and discovering that I'm not the only one. The solitary act is becoming less lonely and I am (I think) becoming braver about it. I have a mentor in Elizabeth and two new friends who are in a similar boat. I've gone from hiding out and not knowing what I'm doing to having three people in my life who understand what it is I'm trying to do, who get what I'm struggling with and who help me push myself to do it. And I have friends and family to cheer my on while I work all of this out.
It's exciting be able to tell people that I'm writing every day. It helps me understand why I'm doing it. I'm trying to put into practice what I learned at school. I'm exercising the muscle. I've set a goal and I'm not afraid to mess up in the process. I still worry about what I'm going to write about every night. I fear that I'll have nothing to say. I procrastinate, sometimes a little, sometimes for hours. But then, I get over it and get to it. And now, I'm coming into contact with more people who understand and speak the language. I'm finding a whole new tribe.
After all these years of shying away from the title, of scribbling away in the safety of my apartment, I am beginning to understand that this is not just a way for me to pass the time. Patrice said it to me tonight, "You may have always written, but I get the feeling that you're really starting to think of yourself as a writer." She's right. I am.