Be generous. Be kind.
For as long as I can remember, I've defined myself as a writer.
But, along the way, I got scared. I worked in publishing and journalism, but I told myself I was just part of the management creating strategy; the real writers created books and articles. Even as I coached authors, editors, marketers, and journalists, I felt unqualified.
I felt this way despite my training. I went to an arts school for communications throughout middle and high school, and graduated summa cum laude (ooh, Latin!) from college with a degree in fiction writing.
I felt embarrassed despite my accomplishments. I’ve seen my name in the same table of contents alongside authors I respect. Literary journals I love published my fiction. Contests recognized my work. My non-fiction has been shared around the globe. I even inspired my favorite author, my dad, to write his first book and helped him so much that he wanted to give me co-author credit. I knew I was productive, but I ,
For awhile, I stopped saying I was a writer. I stopped writing. I had excuses: my kids were little. My job was intense. We moved a lot. I was busy. My parents died. All of these were true.
But I knew the real reason: I was afraid.
So much of the work we do as creatives, especially as writers, requires us to navigate past our fear. To be open and vulnerable.
To be brave.
One of my mentors, Meg Medina, said that she wasn’t brave until she turned 40. I remember her leading my middle school writing class, and I thought she was amazing and accomplished. And she was. But she knew that she had not yet given herself permission to write in the way that would change her readers the way her voice in the classroom changed her students.
That is where I am right now.
As writers, I think there’s a misconception that writing is solitary. While, yes, initially, we we sit alone with our thoughts, I see publishing as one of the most collaborative and intimate art forms. More than 50 hands touch every book to bring it to life, from agents to editors to publishers to designers to marketers to publicists to sales professionals to production artists to warehouse managers to delivery specialists to booksellers and librarians to reviewers to advance readers to family and friends to, you, the reader, alone with me, the writer, immersed in thoughts together, transported to a world I’ve created just for you.
Each book is loved into life.
Today, I give myself to permission to call myself a writer. Today, I sit down and I write. I’m focused on a novel about grief and family; where love and loss intersect to create life.
I write the way I published: by creating community. And, in the spirit of love and bravery, I ask you to join me. If you’re a writer, please connect with me.
If you’re a reader, please become a fan.