Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month. I won’t be officially participating, but I admire those who will be, and I’m in awe of their bravery and confidence. Hats off to those wonderful, crazy few starting the journey today.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I used to write stories for my parents (scrawled in pink crayon with illustrations and morals at the end) that I’m pretty sure they’ve still got tucked away in a box somewhere.
I’ve wanted to be other things, too. I’ve wanted to be an actress, a singer, a lawyer, a teacher, a librarian, and sometimes all of these things on the same day.
But more than anything else, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before I really knew what it meant, I wanted to be a writer. And what does it mean, to be a writer?
Being a writer is lonely hours with a laptop or a pen and paper. And sometimes not so lonely hours, too, because being a writer is creating new best friends every day, bringing to life on a page people you wish you knew (and some you wish you didn’t) in real life.
Being a writer is rejection and ridicule, from agents and publishers, from people you’d like to interview for a great story, from random strangers who ask what you do but really mean what (can) you do (for me), and (never, in my case, thankfully) sometimes from friends and family.
Being a writer is incredible, exhilarating achievement, because writers create something from nothing and build new worlds and new people and new life out of coffee and thin air. It’s amazing, inspiring magic, no wand required.
Being a writer is simultaneous risk and reward, madness and genius, dark places and illumination. Being a writer is powerful and humbling, and to walk the path of the written word is brave and bold (and crazy, and scary, and fun).
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, because I’d rather live a thousand lives than just one, and I’d rather open doors than close them, and I want to create those beautiful, heavenly little things called books, because they make life better.
So, to all those taking the first step in a journey of a thousand today, good luck, and enjoy, and make sure you’ve got plenty of coffee very close by. And to those thinking about it, dreaming about it, and wondering when’s the right time to start, why not today, and why not now?