the_breakfast_clubWhen I was a little girl, I wrote a poem about George Washington. My teacher and mother and maybe a few others were so impressed with it, I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve never wavered on that.

It was always this future thing that I would be when I grew up. It’s the growing up part that’s been the problem.

I’ve done writing here on my blog and in other places since then. I’ve gotten paid for some stuff.  Somewhere along the way I decided I liked writing for pleasure and I didn’t want to spoil it by boxing it in as some regulated profession [she says, as if she was given the option of writing in a professional role].  If writing were to be a means of making a living, it wold have to be on my terms.

Many times, I’ve deliberated in my head about what makes a writer. Do you have to have an agent? Something published for which you were paid? Do you have to have readers? Talent? A rich daddy?

That’s when I decided I was already a writer. I was a writer because I wrote. Simple as that.

I haven’t written much in the past few years and there are many reasons for that, some good ones and some that might make you roll your eyes. The stuff bubbling up inside me makes great fodder for writing, for dissecting, for soul-baring.

But I couldn’t.

Not because I’m so shy and retiring I couldn’t share my story, because, oh, I can share my story until you run screaming for sanctuary.

It was because one’s story is always twisted up in the stories of others, and by telling my story, I impacted them.

I wasn’t brave enough to tell my story. Or maybe I was brave enough not to tell it.

It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the reason, it once again had me questioning whether I was a writer. A writer tells her story.


I reflected on the stories I’ve read over the years – the stories people have written about their families, their marriages, their divorces, their fights with depression or alcoholism or gambling or infidelity. Stories of their children, their spouses, their employers.  I started seeing how one person telling her story often inadvertently exposes others and here’s what I know – I’m not that kind of writer.

Does that mean I’m not a writer, then? I rarely write these days. I don’t really have a readership anymore. I don’t even have comments turned on when I do blog. I don’t check my stats. I’m not actively submitting for publication. I guess I just do what little I do for me. And that’s OK.

In the end, I don’t think labels define us.

I think people will see us as they want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what I’ve found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… and a princess… and a criminal… and a writer.


43% Writer / 12% Brain / 30% Basket Case / 15% Princess / 0% Athlete / 0% Criminal*

*Well, I did steal cilantro from the WalMart self-check-out once, but that’s a story for another day