It’s taken me 45 years to truly identify as a writer, though in many ways this has been "me" all along...a kindergarten poem titled Kittens, an invitation to join the Foxy Foxes Club, drafting the menu for a “cafe” I ran out of our kitchen. No novels or screenplays–but still, the text. Beyond words, I was highly engaged with tools of the craft. Click, clack, schwing, ding. The force of a tiny hammer pounding into the ribbon, the metal letter pressing to paper. Staining my fingers purplish black with India Ink and calligraphy pens.
I hone this skill at work every day, but I don't spend much time on my own content. Morning pages? My record is probably 30 days. The blog? On. Off. On. Off. I seem to lack the drive and the discipline. Still, it nags at me.
Recently I was at book launch for Steph Jagger, a Canadian transplant I met through Danielle LaPorte’s Beautiful Writer’s Group. The idea that I even joined a “writer’s group” is worth noting, based on the fact that I am overly employed, co-managing a marriage and household with twin teen boys, and juggling a boatload of personal commitments. Um yeah.
Through a series of Instagram exchanges my fellow artist/writer friend and I found ourselves in the heart of Steph's very intimate pre-book event gathering, clustered among her closest friends and champions. Read: PRIVATE party. My gut told me we didn't belong. I kept thinking, “Oh my God, we are crashing this party. Is it possible to be a guest and a party crasher at the same time? When will they ask us to leave?”. Instead of being kicked out, we were greeted with open arms and pink champagne.
After pouring a glass and looking around the room (for people I knew? for the exit?) we were approached by one of the writer's group facilitators–an author, a coach, a literary agent. She knows her shit, and I love hearing her commanding Southern drawl. She remembered us, and asked about our writing. We both admitted that this hasn’t been a priority but we were eager to get back to the practice. With magnanimous authority she gave us an assignment: 200 words. That’s it. “Commit to writing 200 words a day. If you start, you may write more, but if you’re stuck, 200 is nothing. Just 200 words. Do it.”
Oh. THIS is why we’re here. For sure, we were there to champion an author and friend, but it’s pretty obvious I needed some 1:1 counsel. Message received.
Ebb and flow. I followed my own tide, earned a degree in Journalism and weaved a career in and out of creative and management, nonprofit and small business. Throughout, the underbelly of this orbit has always been writing--technical, commercial, relational. I can get wrapped up in my perfectionism and inadequacies, but I’m ready now to dive deep and wrap my arms around it, hold on tight, and swim to the surface.