A while ago I entered a competition. It was to write something, 500 words or less, entitled, 'A Day in the Life of a Writer'. It presented a challenge on several fronts:
- 500 words and I am only just getting started.
- I still struggle to identify myself as a writer, even with a small 'w'. It feels too dangerous; as if I'll invite a torrent of contradiction and ridicule. If in a conversation and I'm pressed, I might own up to ramblings on a blog somewhere but I have difficulty making eye contact at that point and rarely actually let people know where to find my ramblings, should they wish to. Not in a face-to-face real-life encounter; too scary. I usually say, 'I'll send you a link via email.' And then I er...don't.
- The competition was run by The Association of Christian Writers and every day that I hang around making humorous small talk with other procrastinators on the ACW Facebook page is another day that I risk being exposed as a fraud. Not the Christian bit, the 'writers' bit.
- So, sending a piece of writing off to be read and judged by people I so admire; well, when I finally got round to tapping the 'Send' button, I was wincing.
At this point, I'd quite like to tell you that after all that angst, I won. I didn't. Someone else's piece did, and it deserved to win, but (drumroll) I got an highly commended, and also, I'm told, a round of applause at a Writer's Day where the winners were announced.
Yes I did. Me.
So I must have written something (and it has 496 words, in case you were wondering).
So I might be a writer.
Well, inspired by several other people who have added their entries to their blogs, here it is:
A Day in the Life of a Writer
I am not a writer.
I’m just someone who writes. I write because I can’t not write, but for a writer I spend a lot of time not writing. I write with a digit in Facebook. I write while peering over coffee. I write, but I gaze wistfully at those more clever or poetic or published than I who seem to have said it all, and said it better, and I think, I am not a writer.
I write, because it’s what I do.
I write in my kitchen, at the island unit, looking at the trees in the back garden. From here the kettle is a short stride away; I can reach the fridge without leaving my perch. The fruit bowl is at arm’s length and the biscuits are in the cupboard behind me. Well, they were. There are crumbs on the keyboard.
Mornings are for mentally smoothing out a blank sheet of paper on my screen and planning to arrange words to communicate, encourage and inspire. Yes!
No. Mornings are for gazing out of the window, fretting over blog stats, rejoicing over comments, comparing myself unmercifully with others and making more coffee.
Afternoons are for watching the clock as my peace and quiet ticks away before the school run. Decisively closing all programs on the computer but the blank page and being struck by delicious inspiration at about two o’clock only to gather it all into a jumbled pile in my head at three as I dash to the school gates.
Early evening is for sitting side saddle at my island workspace trying to retrieve and nail down the late afternoon magic while the children roller-skate around me demanding snacks and promises while tea bubbles and burns on the cooker (two and a half paces away).
Early evening is for closing the laptop with exasperation only to find that my best ideas come from my children. We are all just kids on a long journey. Are we nearly there yet?
Nope, there’s time for another story before bedtime.
Evening is for delicious, cosy quiet when the children are in bed. For angst about what sort of distracted mother would rather write down strings of words than play Twister, and for pouring out my feelings with my fingers on the keys. Evening is for debating whether to take my laptop to bed where my feet will be warm and taptaptap while semi-recumbent or to leave the unfinished masterpiece where it is and turn to my books and pillow for consolation, motivation, inspiration.
Nighttime is for scribbling in my journal - thoughts and prayer, hope and despair. It’s for leaving it all with Him; achievements and intentions, creativity and procrastination. Nighttime is for trying to switch off the brain that won’t kick in each morning.
It’s for climbing back out of bed and padding down to the blank page on the kitchen island computer and filling it with words.
I am a writer. Sometimes I write.