You may already be a writer.
By Marcia Calhoun Forecki
Oh, the yearning we feel to add our names to the roll-call of the literati. When does one go from writing to being a writer?
The act of writing is an act of optimism.
You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn't matter.
-- Edward Albee
Remember the old Publisher's Clearinghouse slogan? "You may already be a winner." It implied that out there somewhere, a van was driving around with a giant cardboard check with your name on it. The van might pull up any second in your driveway, and all your troubles -- or at least those solvable by money-- would instantly disappear. You would know for certain you were a winner by the microphone in your face and the confetti in your hair. There would be no doubt of the instant you went from loser non-winner to winner. It would be recorded for all time, and you would never, ever return to your pre-winner status.
I'm going to tell you that you may already be a writer. No, I don't have a check for you, giant cardboard or otherwise. It brings up a significant point, though. One does not have to be paid for his or her work product to be a writer. Was Oscar Wilde not a writer? Were Kate Chopin and Breece D'J Pancake and Nora Zeal Huston and Edgar Allen Poe? All these great writers died in poverty, after bestowing their precious words on the world, available to anyone, anywhere, for all time.
Can we agree that remuneration does not a writer make? Then what? The passion! The ganas, in Spanish. Writers desire to report on the progress of their efforts at making sense of their lives and their world. A writer acts on dreams, continually, against all odds, with joy and hope.
Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Writing before dawn, after midnight, in noisy coffee shops, in secluded library corners, or on a TV tray behind the water heater, they continue against all reason and comfort. Writers are the most generous of people. Writers give away their deepest thoughts, their most private experiences, and hope for nothing more in return than a moment's appreciation when we, their readers, lift our heads from their pages and smile. Writers are the most self-motivated strivers on the planet. For nearly all writers, none of their work is pre-ordered or pre-paid. They force time to write into their busy lives as a carpenter pounds shims around a window frame, always trying to jam in one more paragraph, one more sentence before sleep, before work, before the children wake up.
Are you nodding your head right now? Are you thinking, "Oh yes, that's me." If so, then you are, most definitely, a writer. Welcome to the pack.
Marcia is the author of Speak To Me, Better Than Magic and Hurricane Blues and Other Stories. Marcia also blogs at www.goodreads.com