We think our words are permanent and solid and stamp us forever. That’s not true. We write in the moment. . . . That is how writing is. Instead of freezing us, it frees us.– Natalie Goldberg
My mom bought me pears for years because of this simple fact: I liked pears as a baby. In her beautiful mind, this was fact – I liked pears. Yet, while I do not loathe a pear, I haven’t really liked them since, apparently, I was 2.
I find myself thinking this way, as well. I am, or like, or loathe, or love something because at some point, one point in the past I was or did. This locks me up. It freezes me in a version of myself that is not real. That is not today.
I hear writers say, “I will call myself a writer when . . . ” Maybe it’s a book publication or an agent or the completion of some manuscript. Who we are becomes contingent on what will be. This outlook freezes us, keeps us from growth. That is not real. That is not today.
I hear writers say, “To be a writer, we must be inspired.” “To be a writer, we must stop learning and do.” “To be a writer, we must be entirely confident in our abilities.” To be a writer, we must tell each other what it means to be one. That is not real. That is not true.
Here is how I see it. We are writers because we write. That is all. That is real.
Our identity as writers does not depend on who we used to be or who we will become. It depends only on this one act – words to the page.
The rest is lies or excuses or arrogance or laziness or fear or an attempt at control. If those words are ones we whisper to ourselves or if they come from other people we consider “experts” at this writing thing. They are not real. They are not true.
We are writers because we write.
Whether we still like pears or not.
What words do you whisper to yourself or have whispered to you about what it means to be a writer?