My friend Daron and I have a lot of things in common: gourmet coffee, restaurants, movies/TV, life philosophies, friends, ministry perspectives, good books, and adoring his wife and son, to name a few. Another commonality is our love for personality tests and philosophical questions. A year or so ago, he asked me a question that’s come to mind multiple times since. He said, “If you had to use only one word to describe yourself, what would it be?” Intriguing, right??? Surprisingly, it only took me a second to answer.
If you check out my All About Me page, you’ll see me use multiple words to describe myself. I believe they are all characteristics of my complex personality. So, initially it may seem like a really hard answer. I thought it would be. But I guess, over time, I’ve just come to identify more strongly with certain aspects.
So, what was my word? Writer.
I write for work. I write for pleasure. And I constantly write in my head for no reason at all. But right now, my job isn’t to be a writer. I’ve written professionally for many years, and I even supported myself solely that way for a couple of years. (By the way, I was the best boss I ever had. I was funny and generous and thoughtful. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay well at that time and had to let myself go. But we’re still on good terms.) However, more often than not, writing is not my primary paid task. It’s usually just one of the functions I perform. So, why “writer”?
Growing up, being a writer is one of the first occupations I ever considered. I’ve always loved writing. It came easy to me, and I really enjoyed it. In elementary school, I remember being assigned to write a story with about a page requirement. While everyone else was finishing, I was just getting started and had to add multiple pages to complete my story. I just couldn’t stop. And journalism steadily moved into my heart and rented a room.
I thrive when using words. I adore words. I like to play with them. I have fun putting them together in clever ways. In fact, my TV schedule is pretty much dominated by shows I think are well-written, not just entertaining. Words have weight and value to me. I’m not a great speaker, but give me the ability to write out my thoughts and feelings and you’ll get an ear full.
And okay, I have to admit, there is a certain degree of romanticism at the notion of “the writer.” I’d love to be sitting at a cafe in Paris, sipping coffee while the sun is setting all Monet-like, just plugging away on books and articles and whatever else struck my fancy that day. It would be a dream to live out scenes from movies about writers a la Midnight in Paris, Stranger Than Fiction, Eat Pray Love, Lady in the Water, Finding Neverland, Moulin Rouge and the like. Okay, so maybe excerpts of some of those, just to skip the hard stuff. But, hey, being a starving artist isn’t easy.
I also think it’s why I resonate so much with the concept of life as a story. When considered a narrative, it naturally makes sense to me. It just feels right. The words fall into place, moving in a direction. They take on life and begin to breathe. I see myself as living a role. I think Shakespeare was really onto something. Even the books of the Bible with story lines are the ones I prefer. Most people love Psalms, but I’m drawn to anything with a beginning, middle and end. I want words I can follow.
One of these days, I’ll write a book. Who knows when. I start them all the time in my head, but the words haven’t taken on enough life to make it to the page. Some day they’ll flow out of me, pouring out of my heart and on to the page. Until then, I’ve got plenty of writing to do—in my job, on my blog, for my volunteer work. And for now, that will suffice. The amount of words do not make me a writer, it’s the mindset.
So that’s my word—writer. What would yours be?