In some cob-webbed corner of my heart and imagination, the uniform of a writer was draped limp and lifeless over a chair waiting for me. I walked around in that room for years. I saw the uniform. Sometimes I even approached the chair and touched the uniform's fabric. But I never put it on. I wrote professionally for years, but because writer wasn't in my title, I didn't give myself permission to call myself one. I wrote in journals since my sophomore year of high school. Still I did not call myself a writer.
Slowly over the past few years, my heart and imagination have nudged me closer to that uniform. One year ago today, I finally yanked the uniform off the chair, stepped into it, and I haven't looked back. One year ago, a perceptive friend encouraged me to write a page a day. “A page a day for a year will turn into a book of something.” He was right. That visual helped make writing a book not seem so daunting. I was like the Forrest Gump of writing. I started writing and kept writing and writing. I have written through confusion, heartbreak, exhaustion, wordlessness, and fear. I have written through a stomach bug, house guests, and the day I ran my first 5K. I have written whilst working full-time and mothering full-time.
I have written my way into understanding this: Writing is what I was put on earth to do. It's why I hand write letters. When I stopped considering my letter writing a quirk, I owned the letter writing as my space in the world, and things changed. It's also why those letters repeatedly find themselves in the hands of people who need a little extra love or support. That letter writing was the preamble to my every day writing habit. Both have changed my life.
I understand now that being published doesn't make me a writer. Writing every day makes me a writer.
So Grandma Steele was right. So were Tammy and Christa and Dan. I do have stories inside me that need to come out, and every time I write one, I feel more myself than ever before.
I am excited to think what another year of writing every day will bring. But I also know that the only important thing is that I write today. Tomorrow and the next day will take care of themselves.
Today's page is done.