When I started writing as a kid, it was originally what could best be described as a short story. It was actually a quite embarrassing piece of work that followed me around for ages, but has been lost in recent years and I’m super sad about it… really. It was something along the lines of: Page 1 – What makes flowers grow? Page 2- Dirt makes flowers grow. Page 3- Water makes flowers grow— I think you get the hint by now. I mean, I was like six or seven when I wrote this, so I feel like it was pretty advanced myself! Who am I kidding, it was awful, but that really isn’t the point of what I’m getting at here.
I’ve spent the last several years straying away from my roots as a writer. I have been trying over and over unsuccessfully to write a novel. I would go from idea to idea never getting past a first draft. Often I would never even complete the first draft. I get a great idea, and for a few weeks I am obsessed. And then I’m not. The thought of trying to work on whatever story I’m doing makes me want to scream so I give up and start something new, or go through all my old scraps of ideas looking for renewed interest. I have been repeating this process on and off for the last ten years. I have recently sat myself down to try to figure out why I’m struggling with writing.
Before I had started to try to figure out this world of novel writing I would write poetry. Sometimes short prose and rarely something that could almost be considered a short story. Why had I moved on from writing that works well for me and I love doing? That is sort of easy. I thought, in order to be a “real writer” I had to be able to write a full novel. I thought there was no way I could ever make any money at all writing poetry, or anything shorter then a novel. I’ve never been one to be about the money, but some day I would love for writing of some form or another to be my “real job”.
Thinking about it all now it seems silly to me. There are plenty of amazing poets out there that I admire. Why would I think that they are not “real writers”? If I could think it about myself, then it must apply to all poets. I’ve recently even put out a request for favorite poets across Facebook and Twitter. It was amazing to see the love of poetry from my friends. It made my heart warm a little bit if I’m being honest. I don’t know why I felt the need to convince myself that the thing I loved so much wasn’t worthy and that instead I had to waste 10 years of my life trying to do something that I should have known I would never accomplish. Who knows, novel writing might be in my future, but it is not going to be anything I try again for awhile. And I’m totally okay with that.
I came across a quote today as I was sitting here writing this. It seems relevant and something that I need to often remind myself.
If you’re writing, you’re a writer.
― Alan W. Watts
At this point in my life I don’t want to waste any more time on something that isn’t making me happy. I will be going back to my roots and living my true self as a writer/poet. I will work on poetry, various kinds of short prose, short stories, and even submit articles around to see if anyone bits. If the ‘Letter to the Editor’ that I wrote in 8th grade taught me anything it is that I can argue my point and stir quite a bit of controversy in a community if I am passionate enough. I have many passions these days. I would love to make my 8th grade self proud of who I’ve become as a writer.
Do any of you have poets that you love to read (or hear in cases like Spoken Word)? I will leave this with a link to one of my favorite contemporary Spoken Word poets right now, who did a TED talk. (I am a bit obsessed with her)