A few years ago, I was at a church service in which I shared a piece of my writing with the congregation. After the service was over, a female minister approached me, pointed her finger, and said in an authoritative voice:
“YOU ARE A WRITER”
I have had other people in church inform me that they enjoy my writing. But when this woman spoke to me in such a bold tone, I felt as though God was speaking through her. I needed to hear that I was a writer, because I had not taken the gift and the art of creating seriously. I knew that I was a writer, and that I liked to write, but I thought it was unrealistic to think that my writing could be published somewhere.
I have always been a writer. I grew up writing in journals and notebooks where the pages were nearly ripped off of its spiral. In high school, I allowed my friends to read my “books.” I recited my poems in high school shows and church services. As the years passed, I realized that I loved going to the theater and watching people put their own twist to their lines. I loved going to concerts and looking at the enthusiasm on a person’s face as they sung or played an instrument. I found joy in the artistry that folks had.
Finally, I have figured out that I am an artist. I wonder if I am being pretentious when I describe myself that way. It’s a word that seems like it should be reserved for famous writers, painters, dancers, singers, and other creative folks. My writing is not famous; my words are not in books. But the word “artist” explains so many facets of my personality.
For instance, I am always thinking and observing the details of people, things, and surroundings. I like details, as I want to see every little piece that makes up a whole. I think a lot, and I have to quickly catch my creative thoughts. I usually write them in my phone or scribble them on a piece of paper.
I have times where I need more than scrap paper. The creative thoughts can get so tangled up that I need to sit somewhere and write. Write and write until the words become untangled. Write and write so I do not have to keep the thoughts stuffed in my mind.
Recently, I spoke to one of my professors in my social work program about my passion for writing. I was concerned that I could not be a creative writer and a social worker. I wanted to know if the roles could co-exist, or did I have to pick one? My professor explained to me that there are many social workers who are writers, and that many folks choose the field of social work because of the diversity of positions that you can work in. The professor told me that she is a writer, and she encouraged me to dedicate a morning or a few mornings to writing. Essentially, it does not matter what time I choose to write, but I have to choose to invest in the gift.
I believe I have been resistant to the words “artist” and “writer,” because of my perfectionism and my game of comparing myself to others. Perfectionism is about my ego. When I am perfectionist, I do not allow myself to write, because I do not think I have anything “perfect” or “eloquent” to say. When I do not write, I do not share the gift that God has given me. Since God has given me this gift and this love of writing, I should use it.
I am a writer. I am an artist. And yes, it is scary to say those words and to write those words. But I want the gift to be used. I love how certain words sound next to each other and how words can make a person feel. I want to continue writing blog posts and creating short stories and poetry. I even want to try other forms of art that I have not explored fully.
I have read a few blog posts in which the bloggers have wrestled with the word “writer.” I want to encourage those bloggers by saying:
YOU ARE A WRITER,
WRITING IS YOUR GIFT,
CHOOSE TO INVEST IN THE GIFT!