I’m not a writer anymore.
Or an editor.
And I wish you knew how good that feels.
I started reading when I was two. I started writing later, when I was a kid; journaling that turned into writing plays and poems and even part of a book. I learned that writing was so innate to my being and that it was a way to express myself and “deal” with life. I did it for fun and I did it for me and I loved it. I loved all of my English and reading classes. I consumed more books than many people do in a lifetime. And reading helped to fine-tune my writing.
As I grew up, my writing, as with most crafts, became more intentional and, well, better. I studied it and honed in on what I considered ‘good’. (Like not using five commas in one sentence. Kidding.) At some point, I considered myself a writer. Not that I wanted to become a writer, but that I was a writer…kind of like how one day you just understand that you’ve got legs. The type of writer who writes wrapped in a blanket with a pen and paper and a mug of coffee looking pensively out the window to the world that I was trying to encapsulate into words.
But then I got my first job as a writer. It kind of fell into my lap. It was just as a freelance blogger, writing about my expertise in the fitness industry. I felt important and like my skills were valuable to others than myself. But, that’s probably when it all started to snowball, because shortly after that…
I accepted a job as a copywriter and editor.
I began consuming blogs and not consuming books.
I finished my degree in English and writing studies.
I freelance blogged for other publications.
I started this blog.
And all of a sudden, I was a writer. The type of writer that no longer writes leisurely in a blanket, but one that had to meet deadlines and had to write about business and fitness and banks and come up with cheesy tag lines and cater to paid advertisers and look for followers and likes. It was terrible and gross and definitely, most definitely, not an art.
Now, before I go on, this is NOT me saying that writers who are technical writers and get paid to do it are not writing for art. And maybe they even still write wrapped in a blanket with coffee. But I didn’t, and it sucked the life and creativity out of me.
I remember being at a networking event and would introduce myself as the editor of a local publication (because I was). The suits at the mixer couldn’t wait to give me their card and pitch me their story. Ohhhh you’re an editor! they’d say. And I’d struggle not to scream But I’m not! I’m a writer wrapped in a blanket! Let me write you a poem about the world! Please don’t ask me about writing a ‘piece’. I felt insecure and like an imposter. People would kill for my role and title and here I was trying to shake it like the flu.
I was nervous that a single typo would make it into my publication. I was insecure because I was being held to AP Style standards and I’m an MLA-er. I waited for the emails to come in saying that we missed this or misspelled that or ran an ad next to another ad. I missed being a kid writing silly little things that meant the world to me and that no one else would ever see (hopefully).
I left my job.
I changed my LinkedIn.
I’m not a writer anymore.
I’m not an editor anymore.
And it feels so good to say that. I’m just me, and I just happen to love writing. All of the competition, the jargon, the hobnobbing and schmoozing is alllllllll gone. Forget the advertisers, forget the likes, forget the deadlines to write 500 mediocre words about nothing.
I just write for me, and now I’m okay with someone reading it……like you.