The thing about writing is it isn’t just sitting here when I feel creative and transforming my thoughts into words in a Word doc. If only it was just that.
Also, there is this matter of publishing. Tom Williams said, “So long as our words remain private to us, they are incomplete and inert. Power is generated only when the work is published–proclaimed to the public.”
So also there is the whole matter of submitting. That means, for me, an overachiever yet not quite a perfectionist, managing this impossibly large spreadsheet of literary journals and their reading periods and fees and word counts and and and. It means submitting pieces strategically, keeping track of where they’ve been, where they will go. It means staying up on journals – which ones I want to break into, which ones to stay away from.
Being a writer means being present and vibrant in the arts community – attending events and reading the words of others who inspire you and sometimes those who don’t. Because being a writer means supporting other people in the arts, the ones who get this profession that doesn’t pay, the work you toil away it in your off hours on the hope that someone will read it one day.
Being a writer means collecting ideas and characters and research bit by bit, storing it away for when you will sit down and write again. It means constantly feeling like your head is so full it could explode.
I haven’t written much lately which I feel horrible about all the time. I do a decent job at keeping up my four various journals, but I have not done a good job of writing the many essays and stories and poems and blogs that are in my head. I have been freelancing and waitressing and baristaing and coaching two slam poetry teams. I have been parenting, I have been girlfriending. I have been a writer who isn’t writing and so badly I want to forget this admin work of writing and just write, the way it was once, before I learned all the other parts that go into writing.
So I think maybe tonight, after the boys are asleep, I’ll just sit down with a loosening beverage and put words on a page, without thinking about anything else. I think I’ll do that tonight and the next night and then we’ll see what happens from there. I think I’ll be a writer again, not just a once-writer who became an administrator for her writing, starting today.