Author Feature - October 2020
I think I’ve always been a writer.
Sure, I didn’t publish my first poetry collection until I was twenty-six or finish my first novel until I was thirty (the age I am presently), but I’ve always been a writer. The thing is, being a writer starts long before a book with your name on it appears on any bookshelf. Your publication date, though momentous and exciting, is not the day you become a writer.
The day you become a writer might be in first grade, when you write a complete sentence for the first time, the chalky whir of pencil on paper igniting a spark of interest, a spark of, ooh, this feels good.
The day you become a writer might be in eighth grade, when you flop on your bed after losing your first love to your best friend–the day you open up a journal and write down all your pain, igniting a spark of belonging, a spark of this dulls the pain.
The day you become a writer might be in eleventh grade, when an English teacher shows you a poem that tugs on your heartstrings in a way you never knew possible. The day you read the line They own everything, and wonder if it’s true, igniting a spark of longing, a spark of I can do this, too.
The day you become a writer might be at twenty-six, when you’re sitting in a hospital bed, holding your head between your hands, begging the universe to shake the OCD out, but knowing the only way to shake it is to take your meds and write it out.
The day you become a writer might be any given Tuesday, driving to work, inventing stories in your head and putting them to paper on your lunch break because that’s the only time you’ll have. Typing the keys, hearing the taps, thinking back to first grade and remembering how good it felt to bring words into the world, wanting to bring more.
This is how I became a writer. I write for so many reasons–because it feels good, because it dulls the pain, because it helps my mental health, and because I want to make other people think and feel and see things the way I do when I read something good.
Nobody wakes up a writer. It’s a process, a love, and an art. Whenever someone tells me they want to be a writer, I never hesitate to say, “You can be.” It’s a seed that must be planted, and like any other seed, with a little water, it will grow. And who knows? Maybe you’ve always been a writer, too.