Without really realizing it, I’ve somehow lived a life of writing. One might ask how you don’t realize such a thing… but it’s true. It’s such an intrinsic part of my life, that I never actually appreciated the intense role that it played. Reflection time.
I write as a key part of my job, whether it be a massive amount of emails or internal news stories. I’ve written speeches for public presentations – one in particular that moved both myself and the organization (in their words). I write fiction. I write in my journal. I write this blog. When you calculate all of that time spent writing, it is actually a huge part of my life, yet for the longest time I didn’t self-identify as a writer.
My favourite thing to ask other writers, especially established authors, is what they’ve learned about themselves through writing. I’m often surprised to find that some authors haven’t considered this question. Then again, neither had I. Here goes.
I’ve learned that I’m committed. It takes heart, soul and dedication to finish a novel. Even when it’s finished it’s not really finished. You go back again and again, reworking it. I’ve committed to this blog for a year now, which is huge for someone with a pretty short attention span.
I’ve learned that I’m brave. The first time I received even slightly harsh criticism for my novel… I cried. In private! It’s not that I didn’t agree with what they said. This person, who I completely adore and admire, hit the nail on the head. Internalizing feedback on something that you consider a part of you is hard. Even so, since that pretty tough day, I go back again and again and solicit feedback, especially from the critics. I’ve put myself out there and in the past year I’ve pitched my novel to three agents, which is a gut-wrenching thing to do.
I am willing to be vulnerable. This kind of goes hand in hand with the bravery thing, so but I think they are different things. What’s different is that through the blog and through conferences that I’ve attended, I’ve been willing to put my hand up and say “look, I don’t necessarily know anything about anything, but here’s what I think.” It’s terrifying and liberating.
I’m passionate. This I knew about myself through other facets like community investment and travel. I knew I was passionate enough about those topics to put myself out there, be brave, etc. I find myself, now with writing, getting more and more involved with my community. For fiction it’s the Alberta Romance Writers’ Association or the Surrey International Writers’ Conference attendees. For blogging it’s the Travel Blog Success group. I am so happy to share with and learn from these groups.
So, fellow writers, what have you learned about yourself?