Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dear Writer: Where It All Started

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it!" ~ Toni Morrison

It started in my head.

It always starts in my head.

It probably starts in your head as well. We writers are often those peculiar and foolish sorts of people who spend a great deal of our time imagining things in our heads and then attempting to put them out on pages using words. We started out innocently enough, absorbing the stories that we were told as children, watched on television, or read in books. Humans need stories. It is one of the main ways they, social animals that they are, communicate with one another. Writers took that a step in one direction and said that it was not just that stories needed to be told, shared, and expressed in some fashion to others, but rather our stories.

Quite the egomaniacs, aren't we? I'll admit it.  I write because I want people to read what I wrote. It's not enough just to write the story and put it away in a drawer somewhere or store it on a flash drive. That line of thinking makes me an author. (Shh, it's not a dirty word as long as one doesn't use it as a badge that keeps them focused too long on one book or one story.) I can say with a hint of pride that I'm the author of more than one book. Still, I am a writer first and foremost, meaning I'm someone who writes rather than merely someone who has written. (In case you're wondering, that could be a simple way to explain the difference between the words 'writer' and 'author.' Many newer writers might be shaking their heads at this point. Sorry about that. Maybe I'll talk about it more in a future post.)

It started in my head when I was very young. It started then in your head too. While it's true that no writer is the same as another writer, it might be fair to say that we all cross a line between just playing and using imagination as other children would and really thinking that the things we made up are worth sharing with others. I don't know when I crossed that line. I could think of many instances throughout the rest of my childhood when those impulses reared up and sometimes even found outlets. You could too.

Dear writer, if it's okay with you, I will talk about this thing we do. I'll come back to this space every so often and unpack what we writers do, think, and grapple with as we, hopefully, continue writing. Thank you for tuning in and reading. It makes this writer happy.

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