I’ve had a hard time recently coming up with things to write about. It’s funny because I started this blog the way that I did to prevent that from happening. I made it about my everyday life, I made it general, I made the decision to not focus on any one thing so that I could just write whenever I wanted to, about whatever I wanted to, but I’ve had a hard time doing that lately. So, to add a little something new into the mix, I am launching a new category on the blog titled “Inkblots” that will be dedicated to posts about writing: writing tips I’ve learned, how I’m using my writing right now, and any just general musings about writing.
This will be the first post in the category.
It seems strange to say that I’m not a writer because in most definitions of the word, I am. I write. I put pen to paper, fingers to key. I string words together and make sentences, paragraphs, for pages and pages until I am done saying what I’m trying to say. Sometimes it sounds great, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes I write within the bounds of grammatical correctness, and sometimes I simply butcher the language. But I’m not a writer I’ve learned–here’s why.
Since graduating college, I’ve tried desperately to identify “my thing.” You know–”the thing”: the thing that drives a person, the thing that makes them want to create, the thing that keeps the ideas flowing so that incredible works can be done. The thing. For the longest time I’ve struggled with what for me actually was that thing. When I was younger and wanted to be an artist, I believed art was my thing. When I wanted to be a musician, it was music and when I graduated with my degree in English/Creative Writing, my thing, in my mind, was writing, but the reality I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that I’m not, nor have I ever been, any of those things; none of those are mine.
I write, sure, but I’ve met writers. They’re the individuals that since they were 4 had already been writing their own books. They’re the ones that when they were 13 chronicled every moment in a journal. They wrote out their feelings, their thoughts, their own stories with their own characters just to keep sane in the chaos of adolescence, and now, in adulthood, they write short stories and secret novels between playdates and diaper changes, after work and before bed, as a way to escape the monotony. They are writers. They write. Every chance they get, they’re writing. Writing is their release, writing is their catharsis. Writing is their way of expressing their thoughts and their feelings and their voice when nothing else works. Writing is forever a part of them and probably always will be.
I am not a writer, at least not in the same way they are.
I write and am good at writing, but writing has never been that for me. I never kept journals, It’s never been my go to for catharsis. It’s never been my way of saying all of the things I’ve ever wanted to say, even now, when I am probably a better writer than I’ve ever been before. And that isn’t to say I won’t always write. I love to write–I’m good at it too–and my hope, one day, is to write books of my own, to write short stories and other things to be published for people to see; that’s kind of always been a dream of mine. But even in saying that, there’s a difference between me and writers and that difference is storytelling. I’m a storyteller. Writers can be storytellers too and storytellers can be writers, but the two aren’t exclusive to one another. Scriptwriters can be storytellers. Directors can be storytellers. Musicians and artists and dancers and woodworkers can be storytellers in their own specific way and, at the same time, if that isn’t their goal, they don’t have to be–they can just create.
I’ve never been the person to write just to write. I love to write, I love to read, but writing is a means to an end for me. It’s a conduit through which I express ideas, it’s a way I tell stories, whether those stories are my own or someone else’s. And, honestly? If I couldn’t write for some weird and horrible reason, I would find another way to tell the stories I desperately wanted to tell. It wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I am a storyteller. I write, I draw, I play music, I speak, but in no pure sense am I any one of those things. I tell stories and will always tell stories. I’ll write books, I’ll draw comics, I’ll speak to audiences to do that, but I will always tell stories.
I am a storyteller, through and through–that is my thing.