I WAS TALKING to a friend over lunch the other day, and I referred to myself as a writer. It just came out, and as soon as it did, I noticed what I’d just said; he noticed too, and asked about it. It’s a funny thing, how we label ourselves, and an even funnier thing to notice when those labels take effect.
I think it’s most often a gradual thing, adding to and deleting from our menu of self-describing labels. I used to be an artist, but that was a long time ago. When did it stop? I don’t know. Will it come back? Maybe. I didn’t used to label myself as gay. For a short time, I used the bisexual label. Many of us do, tainting the very real sexual orientation by co-opting it as a hedge against the terrifying act of coming all the way out. But that’s another story for another day.
When did I become a writer, exactly? I started this blog in spring 2011, but first referred to myself on here as a writer in my first post of 2012, and asserted that fact with some more authority on the anniversary of the blog. I think it was around that time I changed my okcupid profile to say my main interest is writing.
But something has shifted more recently, and now I routinely refer to myself as a writer. What has changed? Well, a few things. I’ve taken on more freelance work, have been working on writing fiction, and have been posting on here more often, so writing is a bigger part of my life. So big, in fact, that I’ve gone ahead and, as threatened, gotten the wheels turning to reduce my time at my day job to 3 days a week. (This was a big new year’s goal of mine!) It’s not happened yet, but it will, and so it already feels different.
The biggest thing I’ve done as a writer lately, though, is to post some of my fiction on here. There are all kinds of writers, of course, including writers who never share their work publicly, and that’s fine. But, for me, it’s always been a goal to share my writing with the world and to know that people have been moved by it. I so appreciate the feedback I’ve received from friends and strangers alike. It makes me want to do more writing.
Speaking of doing more, perhaps the biggest sign that I’ve got writing on the brain is that I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this November, committing to string together 50,000 words in 30 days. It makes no sense — I’ve not cleared my calendar, I’ll be traveling without a laptop, I’ve got a ton of freelance work to do, I don’t even have a clear idea of what to write about (not that I did last time, but at least I had a basic structure) — but I’m doing it anyway. If I’m a little hard to reach this November, you’ll know why. I’m writing.