I’ll admit it, this month’s topic gave me pause. How much can I contribute to a discussion of the writer’s life when more often than not, I don’t feel like a writer at all?
There was a time when I proudly owned the title with a capital ‘W’. I had word count spreadsheets, marketing plans, and I faithfully wrote every day.
Then I had a baby, and added a whole new title to my repertoire: Mom. After my maternity leave ended and I returned to my job full-time, I became Working Mom. Today, I feel like my title sits to effect of: Working Mom and Wife Who – When Not Shopping for Groceries, Commuting, or Self-Righteously Blending Homemade Baby Food – Tries to Get to the Gym Two or Three Times a Week. Oh, and did I mention we’re renovating our house?
That’s a lot of words, and not one of them is Writer.
And yet, a few months ago I harnessed a rush of inspiration and wrote 68,000 words in about six weeks. I polished the manuscript, pulled together a proposal for two subsequent books, and sent it out into the ether. I can’t say much yet, but – despite spending the post-hitting-send weeks roiling in self-doubt and uncertainty and convinced I would never publish anything again – I have an offer for the series. Unless everything goes terribly wrong, that book will see the light of day. As will the next one. And the one after that.
I’ve written next to nothing since completing that manuscript, but I’m telling myself that’s okay. Maybe I won’t be a 1,000-words-per-day writer anymore, maybe never again. Maybe this recent absence has already lost what little readership I’d built up, and I’ll never recover the sales or reviews I used to have. Maybe I won’t be able to release three books a year, and maybe I’ll have more years where I don’t release anything.
But I’m okay with that. As long as there are words, and someone willing to publish them, I won’t feel like a fraud. I’ll call myself a Writer.