Edit @ 12:32 PM CDT, Aug. 9, 2012: I have removed an image that was originally associated with this post due to an issue brought up in the comments below. The words on that image apparently belong to poet Shaun Shane, something I did not know at the time of posting and had I known I would have either chosen not to post it or posted full author links and credits as I have always done in the past. This has been deleted due to a copyright issue I never intended to breach. My sincere apologies if this has upset the author in any way.
As a side note, I am glad this was brought to my attention by the people who claim to be the publisher of this work because as a writer myself I would never want anyone to use my work without my knowledge or credit. However, one comment or email would have been plenty for me to correct this issue, and I have done so within minutes of that comment being submitted. The second comment that attacks my integrity as a writer is not appreciated nor is it tactful. I strive to be fair and ethical in every way I can in the way I conduct this blog and will continue to do so. Thank you to my readers for understanding.
Remember when I officially declared myself a writer? I think it was a bit arrogant of me to do that.
I used to say I wasn’t a writer. That was because I dreamt about it every day, but I never did anything to make it happen. I never stepped forward and tried. I just knew I wanted to.
Then I met people. Participated in NaNoWriMo. Made 98th place in a poetry competition. And yes, that meant I was a writer! I had to declare it to the world! I was “platform building” after all. I was joining fancy social networks and telling people on my blog how to write. I had elaborate schedules. I did things like Twitter that I didn’t even like because that’s what today’s writers do and if you’re going to be anybody then you better be “in the know”.
You know… confidence sucks. That kind does anyway. I look back on who I was with that confidence and I don’t like it. It was all stuffed ego and self-importance. Too much focus on sounding exactly like all of the bloggers, indie writers, agents, and platform builders told me to instead of just doing my thing and letting that shine on its own. I was so busy sounding all writerly that I wasn’t writing. And I hadn’t even made anything of myself yet. Oh my.
Now I’m back to not being certain whether or not I’m a writer. But this time the uncertainty feels more liberating than the confidence before ever did. It’s no longer uncertainty about whether or not I will ever sit down to write and worry about trying to become “famous”, instead it’s uncertainty about whether or not what I’m writing is the truth I’m trying to express. Whether or not I’m being true to myself. Whether or not what I’m putting on paper is worth reading. Whether it will have an impact.
I have a handful of larger stories to tell, but this last year of conferences, contests, networking, how-to’s, platforming, and soul-searching decisions have taught me something: I’m not meant to be that famous NYT bestseller. I don’t know if the world will ever know my name. But I know what I write, why I write, and the peace that I feel as I write. And because of that, I know what I’m doing is right.
I won’t deny that I would love to make enough money from writing to quit my day job. I would love to see a book with my name on it tucked away in the shelves of Barnes & Noble. I hope, one day, that maybe a single person will come up to me and say, “I know you. I’ve read you. Thank you.” But there’s a key to dreaming all of this…
I’m happy even if it doesn’t happen.
I am a poet. I will do my best with every piece I write to earn that title. I promise to never be false in my confessions even if you as the reader are not certain what I am confessing. I promise to give you my best and work to make my best, better.
I’d rather my words finding meaning with a few, than riches with the many.
Suddenly all I care about is taking my life one step at a time and writing down that which is pressed upon my heart. I want my words to be my legacy.