Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why A(nother) Blog?

Because I am a writer.

It is hard to put into words just how scary that is to see written out.  I can feel the anxiety creep in, even now.  I have been avoiding the label “writer” for a long time.  I had fallen into the trap of believing that one has to make a living writing or possess the ability to write exceptionally well in order call oneself a “writer.”  But I have come to believe that being a writer has less to do with precise grammar and exquisite turns of phrase than with processing the world through the written word.  And I don’t hold myself to similar standards when using other labels, like mother, wife, friend, singer, Christian.  I’m not sure I do any of these things particularly well (and I certainly don’t make a living doing any of them), yet I use these labels freely.

I am a writer.

I learned to write when I was in in grade school – when I diagrammed sentences in sixth grade, when I learned how to support my arguments in high school literature classes, when my mother guided me in how to write a proper thank you note.  I became a writer in college – when I would curl up in my loft and write letters and essays and poetry to help me work through a tumultuous sophomore year.  I developed as a writer in my genetic counseling career – when I authored journal articles and book chapters, when my writing became more clear and precise.  I realized I was a writer when I left my job – when I no longer had the outlet of scientific writing, when I found myself getting lost in the swirl of ideas in my mind, when I longed for the time to sit and write and for the clarity that would bring, when I felt the catharsis of occasionally posting my thoughts on Facebook, when my friends would respond to my writing, “Me, too.”

I am a writer.

Last year, I made the decision to let my genetic counseling certification lapse.  When I made thisannouncement on my Facebook page, I said I didn’t know what would come next and was grateful for the flexibility of time.  I wondered aloud about learning to use my camera and picking up my guitar again.  I said service would take a big role in my life.  (It will.)  But what I didn’t say was the one thing I most longed to, the scariest thing I could imagine saying out loud: I want to write.

But that nagging feeling that I was ignoring a calling grew too intense.  It started to drown out the doubts.  And everything I read seemed to be about tackling the one thing you’re afraid to, that you fear you’re ill equipped to take on.

I am a writer.

I’m not beginning this blogging adventure because I have aspirations of being read by thousands or making a living through blogging or getting a book deal.  My thoughts may never reach more than a few dozen, and that’s okay.  (If anything, I’m more afraid of the tremendous responsibility that would come with more people paying attention to what I’m saying.)  I’m writing because I’m a writer.  I process the world best through the written word, and part of this process is sharing my words, seeking connections with people.  I’m finally ready to say that out loud and do something about it.

I am a writer.


  1. Replies
    1. My first comment! Thank you, Chimmy! I was so scared yesterday, but today, I'm feeling brave and hopeful and excited.