Meeting new people has become a bothersome proposition for me lately. Not because I’m an introvert or anything like that. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I am extremely extroverted and immensely enjoy social settings. No, the problem is when the inevitable question comes along, “So, Richard, what do you do for a living?”
That might not sound like such a problem to you, but at this point in my life I find it to be quite the conundrum. Of course, they are inquiring about what I do to put food on the table, to bring home the bacon, or any of a thousand different colloquialisms for providing for your family. So, I usually just say, “I’m a hotel manager,” because that is the answer they want. But, everyday that description feels more and more foreign to me. Yes, it is what I do to earn a living, but it is not what makes my life worth living. That would be writing.
In my soul, I would tell you I am a writer, but my mind has an issue validating that belief logically. To an outsider, my life might even resemble a writer’s life. I have the blog, the Facebook author page, and now I even have my Amazon.com author page. I serve on the board of a couple different writing groups, work as a graphic designer for a local publisher, and even founded a critique group. Someone might think that I’m well on my way to literary acclaim.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those self-loathing types who is hyper-critical over everything I write. I sometimes even enjoy a couple of lines I put down. The fact is that no matter how loud my soul screams that I’m a writer, all I have to do is go to that Amazon page to know that I can’t say that yet. Go ahead, take a second and click on that link above. I’ll wait…
There. Did you see it? One. Writing. Credit. I have a short story that is included in an anthology of stories about the Ozarks. My mind won’t let me say that I’m a writer until I quit living the writer’s life and learn to live to write. I have talked the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk.
I actually realized all this over the winter and have been dedicating myself to focusing more on my writing; to making it a bigger priority in my life. It is definitely a sacrifice. I try to write as often as I can and make less excuses as to why I can’t. But, in the end I know it will all be worth it when I meet that first stranger that asks me what I do for a living and I turn to them and exclaim, “I am a writer!”