What is a writer?
Am I a writer? I’ve written a book and I write a blog and I have a couple of works in progress, but does any of that make me a writer?
What is a writer exactly? Is it anyone who can pick up a pencil and make markings on a piece of paper that resemble letters and words? Or is it someone who knows how to string together those letters and words into sentences and paragraphs and pages– into pieces of art. Or is it someone who not only makes art out of words, but someone who gets paid to make art out of words?
Today, I had a horribly jealous reaction to the idea of a friend of mine beginning to work on a new book. I thought to myself, how can this person start a new story when I’m so pathetic I can’t complete mine. Which of course made me wonder, yet again, if Twenty-Five is just a fluke. I wrote the one story I’ve wanted for myself my whole life. Maybe I have nothing else in me.
I hate that I doubt myself. I really do hate it. But I do. I doubt myself constantly. I never believe I am good enough or that anything I do is good enough. And I don’t even know why I’m like that. I shouldn’t be like that. I know I’m smart- I’ve never doubted that, though maybe I should. Why does anyone doubt themselves? Fear, I think. For me, fear of failure and fear of rejection. It’s a hard life, trying to be a writer, trying to be published. I just know that I’m going to fail at it, like I’ve failed at so many other things. And I can’t stand it. Because I want it so bad. I want to do something worthwhile, be someone worth while. That’s what got me started on this whole writing kick in the first place. I wrote a book, with a main character who is a lot like me, but I made her prettier and I gave her a boyfriend and a career with the potential to go somewhere. And she got everything she ever wanted. I still cry reading the ending of my book. Imagining that a wonderful man could be so in love with a girl so like me.
And now I wonder if this wonderful book about the girl who is like me but isn’t me whose dreams all come true is the extent of my writing abilities. Do I have any other stories inside me. Am I really a writer, or was I just desperately seeking to make something out of the life I have but hate?
All of this doubt comes just two days after I find out that a poem I wrote (the poem which inspired the title of this blog, BTW) is going to be published in an online magazine. That has to mean something, right? A poem I wrote was selected for this magazine’s next issue, and yet, I still doubt myself. Maybe because I have no one but an online community to share it with. I told my mother and her only reaction was “That’s great. Wait- is that a good thing?” And nothing else. No one is excited for me, well no one that I know in real life. Is that where doubt comes from- lack of validation? Lack of enthusiasm?
It all brings me back to the same question: Am I a writer? Or am I just kidding myself?