I used to wonder
“When will I know I’m a real writer?”
Being younger (and certifiably dumber), I imagined the answer would be something like:
- Mansion and starlets rubbing coconut oil on my aching fingers.
- Riots at my book-signings
- Tabloid reports about my coke-fueled binges on croissants and women of questionable virtue during lost weekends in Vegas.
When younger (see above), I was expecting certain kinds of evidence to confirm that I was a “writer.” The fruits of success would be the proof.
And when those fruits (as I conceived of them) didn’t appear, I was downcast. I failed to achieve the rewards, and thus I was a failure.
Then, as so often happens when we’re not looking, I got older.
Fortunately, I also got a little wiser (which sometimes happens when we’re not looking, but happens faster if we’re paying attention).
I began to write for the reward of…writing.
Besides being liberating (turns out I don’t really like Las Vegas at all), today, I know I’m a writer because people ask me. Earlier this week, I had a long over-due catch up phone call with a good friend and mentor I’ve known since my Coast Guard days, and the third question he had was “How’s the writing coming?” He’s a fan of my Lonesome George Chronicles.
And tonight, on another catch-up phone call (this one to my father and my ailing mother), Dad got back on the line specifically to find out. “So, what’s the news on Lonesome George Two?” Dad is a fan of both LG and “By the Hands of Men” series.
It’s a nice thing when people ask about my writing. I believe in my writing now, and so do they.