My mother is a writer. She’s a published poet, playwright and essayist. Now writing a book of short stories. Mostly in the Irish language but widely translated. She even has her own Wikipedia entry. Do go check it out, I’m very proud of her!
But growing up, the one question asked of me by teachers and other adults, was if I was going to be a writer too “when you grow up”. I always reacted strongly in the negative.
That’s because I wrongly thought that to be a writer meant I had to write poetry, or at the very least, fiction. And I really struggle with that. I just don’t have the imagination. I can’t conjure up characters or dialogue out of thin air. Believe me, I’ve tried. I did find out I was relatively ok at writing non-fiction though. But still couldn’t get into my head that that was ‘real’ writing. Plus, to be a writer I had to write ‘a book’.
Later, when I studied science, I thought maybe I could write a science type book. Somehow make botany interesting to a wider audience. I enjoyed popular science writing, so why not try that. I had a thought to write a book on Turkish Herbal Medicine, which would combine my love of writing with my love of ethnobotany. However, I scrapped that idea when I realised Turkish Herbal Medicine contained a huge amount of pseudoscientific nonsense. So, no popular science book for me.
I then thought of a book I could write that was a true story, but such a good story that it seems like fiction. The love story of how my parents met and ended up eloping. But, I really don’t like the idea of writing about living people. Maybe I’ll write it after mom dies. But probably not, as I’m no good with inventing dialogue and I’ve no idea what they actually said to each other. It’s more a kernel of something I may eventually write about. So, no “based on a true story” book for me.
I started this blog as I love writing. And only just today I realised “hey, I actually am a writer!” I don’t have to ever write an actual book. (Though I’m still chuffed to have had a piece of mine published in All the Weight of Our Dreams)
What led to this epiphany was the realisation that I love to write.
That I can’t wait to get the chance.
That writing makes me happy.
That I feel proud of what I write.
That I love when others read what I write.
That even without anyone reading, I would still write.
Writing is a hugely important part of my life, and that is what makes me a writer.
Whether or not I ever get anything I write published.