I’m not ready to be a writer.
The first time that I knew I wanted to write, I was in an elective course in third grade. The few students that opted in rather than doing a messier artform or something in the sunshine were using an antiquated digital machine that lies between a typewriter that doesn’t do its own printing and a laptop computer. Though I was frustrated with the capabilities of the machine–including the inability to see more than the last typed twenty-five characters–I felt the flow. The flow when you just know.
After school, I asked my mom, “If I become a writer, will you buy me a laptop?” A laptop was, in my world where Lisa Frank folders and Dunkaroos were deemed ‘too expensive,’ reserved for businessmen and people that were rich. So, people I didn’t know.
She told me, “Sure. You write your first book, I’ll get you a laptop.” Her tone was doubtful. I remember thinking of the challenge as I waited in line for lunch the following day. I would write a book, she’d have to get me a laptop, and I’d carry it in a big, bulky bag.
Around a year later, sitting in the backseat on a stretch of long, Texas road, I tried my hand again at writing. I brought with me on that road trip a legal pad of paper, deciding I’d spend the time making a story instead of reading one. Several hours went by as I looked out the window, trying to decide what to write. By the end of the trip, there was one doodle, several erased titles, and two sentences.
Perhaps that’s when some would say I became a writer–when I had an hours-long staring contest with a blank page.
It was freshman year of high school when it became popular to keep an online journal, which evolved into the social world of sharing that we have today. In it, I wrote feverishly and often. I discovered writers who made prose flow like poetry, and I tried, at times, to mimic how the tone of their written words could be felt in the center of my chest. As I went through the tribulations of being a misguided, delinquent youth with a barbaric boyfriend, those four years in high school were spent chronicling misadventures and suffering alike, always thinking about wording of the next post.
I was writing, but was I a writer?
In the midst of the roller coaster that came to be the end of my young, tumultuous marriage, I found myself twenty two years old and merely weeks sober, rediscovering my passion for books. I switched my major with the intention of working in PR and to one day, write a book. Shortly after graduation, I landed a job writing blog posts for businesses. My boss would introduce me to clients: “This is Kelsie, she’s a very talented writer.”
There it was. But I was writing for companies, in their voice, so technically I wasn’t a writer. Right?
Then comes this blog. It’s where I decide I’m going to share what I’m doing, what I’m interested in, and it’s going to be used as an escape from this curated world of facebook highlight reels and ‘gain more instagram followers’ ads. But somewhere along the way, I got distracted from my intention: to write, for writing’s sake. I went knee deep in blogs to emulate, ones I found interesting. Those with great photos and hundreds of thousands of followers.
What’s the secret? How can I not fail? What will show me that I’m a good writer? How can I bare myself, and my writing, and not feel exposed? Do I know enough about blogging? Have I read enough books? Am I good at taking pictures? Will they like it? Will they like me? What do I need to feel ready to put my art out there for people to silently judge?
I’m not ready to be a writer.
I’m not qualified or prepared.
But I am a writer.