May 2, 2011

Mistaken Identity?

Dozens of articles, hundreds of pages, thousands and thousands of sentences, over a half million words… I am a writer. This pile of folders sitting on my desk is what I’m working on now – new programs, articles, essays, and books – all in various stages of completion, all waiting for me to add words and ideas.

We have several identities in each and every one of us. Some of us are daughters, sons, mothers, and fathers. Some of us work outside the home and others work inside. Some of us do what we love for work while others work to put food on the table. But the accountant who teaches yoga on weekends is still a yoga teacher. A stay-at-home mother may also be a potter. She may also run marathons, head up the PTA, and cook gourmet meals. These are the complexities that make us all the unique individuals we are. And whether we get paid to do these things or not, everything we are passionate about becomes part of us.

I received a copy of Rumer Godden’s A Kitchen Madonna from my great Aunt Mimi when I was about 10 or 11. It was at this age that I started to fall in love with the written word. Books, letters, language – I wanted more. I loved to daydream and think up stories in my head, sometimes acting them out in various backyard plays, or later, on stage in high school musicals and concerts. I won an English essay contest as a high school freshman that inspired me to pursue English when it was time to move on to college. I declared communications as my major – a concentration in study that involved language, psychology, creativity, and if I really thought of it back then, writing. But, I never pursued it professionally. I stuck it in my back pocket and forgot all about it. It was only later in life, after my children were born, and my career firmly on track that I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and began again.

Getting published for the very first time was a novelty. When I wrote an article for a magazine, I didn’t take it too seriously. I enjoyed the process, but I never looked at it as anything more than an extension of what I was already doing. It was good PR for my business and nothing more. I had forgotten about all those years before when writing played a pivotal role in my life. Even then it never occurred to me to pursue writing as a career – despite the fact that I was getting paid to write.

The turning point came when I spoke in front of a writers’ group. I felt humbled by the attention and a bit confused by the invitation. Didn’t they want a real writer? As with everything related to my business, I prepared for the presentation as if I were auditioning for the starring role in a play. As the date approached, I became more and more convinced that I would feel out of place and definitely out of my comfort zone. And when the day finally arrived, I wanted to scream fraud and run from the room. But a funny thing happened. People were actually interested in what I had to say. They reminded me that one size does not fit all, and just because I’m not a best-selling author,  doesn’t mean that I am not a writer.

I have now come to embrace this part of me as I look toward the future. I will continue to write for pleasure. “Writing is not only a reflection of what one thinks and feels but a rope one weaves with words that can lower you below or hoist you above the surface of your life, enabling you to go deeper or higher than you would otherwise go.”* I will continue to write about home, family, and relationships, but I will challenge myself to try something new. And I will continue to practice my craft, here, on this blog. It is all a part of who I am.

There is no mistake.

I am a writer.

*Excerpt from The Journal Keeper.


BonjourRomance said...

Great post. I love the line, "Everything that we are passionate about becomes a part of us."
Here's to a great week filled with all we love.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, 100%. Great post.

Wendy Wrzos said...

Loved this, Kim!

Anonymous said...

It took a long time for me to feel comfortable with the word "artist", but that's who I am. I am an artist - whether I get paid for my art or not.

Thank you. Jem <3

Kimberly Merritt said...

Thank you. I hope you all enjoy a weekend filled with "what if's".