Let me just start off saying that this post, like many ones that consist of rambling thoughts but all, somehow, circle back into each other. This particular post is a deeper explanation on the idea of me identifying myself as a "writer" and this perfectionism idea that runs rapid through my head when I am approached with a question of "How do you identify myself as a writer?" Further, the question regarding my writing and my process still leaves me with responding in the most humble response I can muster.
I just write.
Let's face it, writers all have a general population in which they are trying to target their art towards. Mystery writers write to the man who sits endlessly watching ID TV shows, following each story line with fascination and curiosity. Romantic novelist write for the women who have stop believing in love for years since their husbands left. Whatever the style or format, many have a pretty good idea as to how they identify themselves as "writers" or "authors."
That's most certainly not my case.
The earliest memory I had of writing anything was in fifth grade, and there was a part of the curriculum that we had to come up with creative stories about anything our imaginations could come up with. With a portion of it being a poetry segment, my little mind lit up with the endless possibilities of creativity that I could come up with that fit in each genre of literature at the time. Before this time, I would get excited about the writing parts of school and though, I struggled with the basics; I found my passion for writing. Growing up, I would take creative writing course or classes and in college, I had a wake-up call that would essentially cause me to question myself as a writer for the years to come since.
Junior year of college, I was still reeling off the lost of my paternal grandmother and didn't have a will to further my education. With the push or possibly hostage situation (depending on how you look at the situation) by my aunt, I was on the first bus back towards the University. I had been taking 100-200 level courses in creative writing and since I found writing as an escape; I figured that I could put a degree with it. I didn't care what jobs would lead up to it, I just wanted a degree that would show that I was adequate enough to complete the coursework and get the recognition from the State and places throughout the US for being a writer.
My professor was a published author himself and when it came to grading my work, he had a stricter eye on it. Papers filled with marks and corrections, it was hard for me to not think that I didn't have the strength in writing that I had convinced myself I possessed throughout the years. When asking him to explain or even help mold my craft, he brushed me away, causing me to settle for whatever grade he would give me. Looking at other classmates and his attentiveness to their works, I was alone and left to fend for myself when it came down to structure and the way that I wrote. Pieces I had worked hard on, lacked sleep over was never good enough for him that I was left at the mercy of his judgement; no matter how harsh.
I completed the courses needed to get a minor in Writing, yet I wanted more. I wanted to go further, I wanted to be published. How could I want all these things when I had just completed 16 years of schooling that in the last four years had me questioning my skills AS a writer. Was I even a writer? Can I even write?
I had now taken my art to the social web, in hopes that someone out in the world will see my art and be amazed. The past few years, there has been situations in which I would find myself thinking about book ideas or blog posts. The thought of "This would be interesting to write about" would come to mind and the excitement a new idea brings puts me in front of a computer or picking up a pen. As I would sit down to execute whatever idea would come to mind, I would stopped the process with the thought of, "Who is going to read it anyway?" "Does anyone actually care?". Before I can mentally respond with the power of motivation, pessimism rear its head. It's hard to brush through the feeling of "Does it matter?" when history had shown that it indeed does not.
Beating myself up at the ideas in which my mind had conjured up as to what a "writer" looks like, I have believed that I don't come close to even identifying myself or my writings. I struggle with focus that it makes it difficult to complete projects. I write the way that I speak, which is complete outside of English composition norms such as syntax or punctuation. I haven't seen where my writing can take me outside of the e-mails of approved posts. Entering writing contest give me anxiety and when I don't win; I descend into pity and sadness. Defining my art is something that I don't do, I just allow it to be what it is.
I write. I write when I'm mad. I write when my mind circus is having what could equate to a Saturday in Vegas. I write when I'm sad and I can't physically muster the words to say out loud. I write when I haven't had sex for a long extended time and the voices become overwhelming. I write. I write. I write... Freely. Calling myself a writer is something I have yet to bring myself to say since I don't feel as though I qualify. Saying that I am a author is even further as self-doubt and procrastination push all possible award-winning projects back to the furthers part of my mind, under the "later" section . Until I unravel years of conditioned views to how I see myself and my art, I look at my writing as just that and take whatever comes with it on the path towards my ultimate goal; Knowing and having comfort in my art, birthing the idea that I am indeed a writer.