I never refer to myself as a writer. Seems like a lot of pressure. As soon as you say, “I’m a writer,” people start expecting you to have… actually written something. Or more accurately, written something more than a grade-school book report and actually gotten it published.
If I tell people I’m a writer, I risk the dreaded question: “Anything I would have read?”
Yeah. About that. I have a blog… one, among the 152 million that exist on the internet. You may be familiar with my work.
Or my other favorite response: I’m just working on this memoir… that I’ve been working on for about the past seven years of my life.
Seven years. You know that’s almost a third of my life?
No pressure or anything.
Typically when I say, “I’m working on a book… No, I haven’t published anything yet,” people ever so slightly raise their eyebrows in the unmistakable expression of I-was-actually-asking-if-you-have-a-real-job.
Guys, I’m trying.
This past year, however, has been so different from the other six that I’ve spent slaving away at this seemingly unattainable creative endeavor. This past year I’ve been living in New York City. (Initially not by choice, yet here we are in this remarkable place).
And the really remarkable thing about being in this remarkable city, is that when I say, “I’m working on a book,” no one raises their eyebrows. No one twitches. No one coughs. No one uncomfortably shifts their eyes downwards in embarrassment.
Glory Hallelujah. I’ve found holy land for writers that haven’t actually written anything yet.
I think people everywhere in the world dream, but people in New York City actually bust their asses to accomplish those dreams. My friend’s husband is taking time off from his finance job to start a company that builds customized leather bags. Another friend is starting her own line of dance wear. I know someone else that is a make-up artist. Seriously. She earns a living by putting makeup on other people’s faces. How wild is that? Shoot, if she can do that, why can’t I be an aspiring writer?
People take me seriously here. I’ve never even known how to take myself seriously. But you know, somebody has to build customized bags. Somebody has to create dance wear and somebody has to do the makeup for the red carpet celebrities.
Someone has to write a memoir. Why not me?
I know that publishing a book is not going to suddenly and magically complete my life. My life is already complete. I’m satisfied. But if writing a book has been my calling, and I’m living in the city where people go after the things that they were meant to be doing– and the things that they just plain like doing– what stopping me?
Nothing. I’m 20,000 words and 75 pages in. I’m actually doing it this time, guys.
And the more I talk about it, the more I put my money where my mouth is and hold myself accountable.