Ten months ago, you might not have known that I was a writer, though you may have known me as a person who writes. I did not know that there was a difference between these two things. I had written a manuscript. I had run a writing group for three years. I was a writer...right?
But though I spent hundreds of hours a year writing and working on my first manuscript, I was not actively writing towards anything. I wrote to get to the end of what I was writing. It was a hobby that I had always hoped would turn into more, but wasn't sure I was ready to take seriously at only 18 years old. Who would really want to read what I wrote anyway?
And then it all changed. I created an independent study course on the steps to becoming published. I started a blog to get my thoughts out there and to connect with others like me. I spent hundreds more hours not just writing but searching for agents and sending out queries. When that was unsuccessful, I wrote a new manuscript, spent hundreds more hours, found critique partners, and then beta readers to look over the 'final' product. And though most of this has happened solitarily, outside of my external, student/friend/employee life, I've started to realize how external it has become.
All of my friends and family know now that I am working on a manuscript that I take very seriously, and they know that I'm trying to get published. They know all the terms--beta reader, WIP, manuscript, agent--because I use them constantly. They know that, based on my first beta reader's comments, I really think this book might be the one.
When people ask me where I want to be in ten or twenty years, I say writing as my primo, my number one, dream. And in these months, without realizing it, I went from being someone who writes, to being a true, live-by-the-pen-die-by-the-pen writer.
You don't have to be published to be a writer. You don't even have to have an agent. You can be anyone and live anywhere. Being a writer is about knowing within yourself that you can't live without writing, that you write to live and live to write, and that, regardless of your present scenario, you are working towards a life where writing can reasonably come on the top of your list.
How bout you? Feeling writerly today?