How can I consider myself a writer when I haven’t written in a while? When I’m having trouble picking up a pen and weaving words together in a way that is simply coherent?
I honestly struggle with feeling insecure about embracing the label of being a writer. It’s one of the reasons why I tend to be extremely hesitant to publicly share some of the things I write (ironic, huh?). Imposter syndrome is something that is spoken about frequently, it isn’t anything new. Although it feels a little redundant bringing it up, I just can’t ignore it especially when I consistently wrestle with these thoughts.
I question myself often—if the very act of writing that I do is selfish. If it’s something that I use to make me feel better about myself. I wonder if a little part of me writes as a way of reassuring myself that, “Sure, I’m pretty decent at something.”
Writing has always been something I’ve admired. When I first picked up a book, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that someone can create an entire world by using only words. I also clearly remember the first time I had the courage to write something substantial.
I was a complete die-hard fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. Every time my siblings and I would visit the library, the first thing that I would do was make a beeline towards the shelf that I knew held the colorful, glossy books.
One day, I reached the last page of one of the books and noticed that there was a writing competition being held. The competition entailed creating a filler chapter, and the winner could possibly have their piece published in the book itself. I can’t describe to you how I felt at that moment—how quickly my eyes grew wide and how my petite 12-year-old frame shook with excitement.
Of course, I did what any sensible fan would do. I sat in front of the bright computer screen that day, my fingers attempting to type each letter quickly enough to keep up with the myriad of storylines racing in my mind. But to make sure I had enough time to stay on the computer and write, I first had to bribe my siblings with something I knew they couldn’t refuse.
After I completed writing, I read and re-read the chapter that I had written; making sure no words were misspelled and whether or not the scenes I had created fit naturally with the story. I was nervous. Very nervous. Was what I had written going to do my favorite series justice?
Somehow, I managed to push all feelings of hesitation away and asked my dad if he could help print the page out for me. I then successfully found an envelope in our house and with my mom’s help, I scrawled the address on the front of the envelope, put our home address at the top and licked the envelope sealed.
To this day, I still remember the surprise I felt when I had realized that I was actually allowed to write whatever idea came to my mind. That there were no specific rules to writing, and therefore, there was nothing holding me back. All I really had to do was sit…and write. With some adjusting here and there, I felt in awe when the words on the paper actually came to life.
Years have passed since that moment. I’ve gotten a few years older and had more life experiences. Like most people, I blamed college for sucking the love of reading for leisure out of me (since then, it’s been a process of re-learning how to love reading again).
But since that specific moment in my childhood, writing became everything to me. I’ve used writing as a keepsake for my memories, and love the nostalgia that washes over me whenever I look back at what I had written.
It’s also been an outlet for me to pour my emotions into. There’ve been times when I’ve turned to writing when no one else listened—the scratch of my pencil against paper being the only thing I found comfort in.
I’ve jotted down odd ideas for potential stories and wrote poems that caused my toes to curl out of embarrassment. And unexpectedly, a few of those pieces that I was brave enough to share had gained positive reactions from people.
Writing has always been a constant in my life, when everything around me was changing. It has always been something that was easily accessible, something that I could always rely on. Maybe the reason why I’ve been in this slump is because I’ve unknowingly taken advantage of something that I loved so dearly. I’ve done this by writing only when it was convenient for me.
I’ve noticed that I’ve began viewing writing merely as something that I was pretty good at, a talent. With time, I’ve dismissed the fact that writing was actually something I consciously decided to work to improve on everyday, and instead, I’ve become passive.
Every time I’ve turned to writing, it was a process. A process of attempting to formulate my thoughts into words, failing, trying again and then succeeding. After I finally reached a point in which I found myself immersed in a story that I’ve created, that is when my love and curiosity for it grew even more. When I chose to continue to write it unconsciously turned from a talent I thought I had, to a skill that I actively practiced.
I’m continuing to learn that writing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I don’t ever want to stop. I unequivocally dread the pauses—such as this weird interlude that I’ve found myself in—but appreciate the lessons I’ve learned from it. Someday, I hope to be able to proudly take on the title of being a writer, instead of shying away from it. I want to be unafraid in sharing my love for writing, and be able to live a life in which I spend all my time imagining and creating stories.