Most of the time, it feels like I simply wasn’t built to be a writer. I have a hard time focusing and sitting still. I’m impatient. I crave praise. I’m not super observant. I’m not all that original. I’m smart but not clever or witty. I’m kind of lazy. I obsess over words and sentences for hours. I’m not the best plotter. I’m easily distracted by the internet. My wrists ache all the time.
Surely if I were meant to be a writer, this would be easier, right? My personality would be better suited for it?
Well, after years of lamenting my poor compatibility with this thing I love so much, I realized the other day that I never stop to think about — to appreciate — the ways I might actually be a good fit for writing.
• I can stick with something for a long time, well beyond what most reasonable people would tolerate. For example, I ate the same 2 kinds of Lunchables for 5 school years in a row. That’s a LOT of little crackers, circular ham (or turkey), and square cheese.
• I constantly imagine “What if?” What if aliens came and wanted to eat us? What if I could talk to animals? What if a bunch of teens had to fight to death on reality TV? (Okay fine, that last idea wasn’t mine.)
• I constantly wonder how people are feeling about the things that happen to them. The guy on the news who lost his arm to an alligator attack. The family that’s living in a van due to the bad economy. The mother of the con artist who scammed people out of millions of dollars. I want to understand them, their stories. (Truth be told, I want to live their lives, if only for a little while, if only in my head and heart. I want to live a million lives.)
• I process through words. Whether pondering the questions above, or getting through my own personal bind, writing it out helps me understand myself better. Helps me figure out exactly what I’m thinking and feeling, and how to best convey those thoughts and emotions to someone else if needed. Sometimes just the physical act of writing — pressing ink to paper, or pushing characters onto a screen — is therapy enough.
• I love books. The shape of them. The feel of them. The places they take me. The things they teach me. The way they make laugh or cry or both.
• I love words. The sound of them. The look of them. The flow of them. They are truly beautiful to me.
• I have the support. Of family and friends. Of time and circumstances and (for the most part) finances.
• I can be quite the homebody. Sitting at the same desk in the same room of the same house day after day doesn’t faze me.
I’m open to feedback, I type quickly, etc… There is probably more, but I think this post is plenty long enough to accomplish its objective. To inspire me to celebrate and build on my strengths, instead of always only lamenting my weaknesses.
I encourage you to do the same.