My husband is a graphic designer who generally whips designs out of his head and produces them on screen in less than fifteen minutes. I proved to be a challenge for him, an exception, will you, but we finally did it together. We created a logo and business card for me as a writer that surpassed my expectations.
And I love the finished product, more than I thought I would. And I feel humbled by it, too. I see the words, so stark and clear:
They're hovering above a beautiful feather, so delicate and astounding, and I wonder how that feather can hold up those words. Those words, so weighty and committed and unapologetic. What does it mean, really, this title of Writer?
Many days, I find I need to go back and remember.
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The last time I practiced blogging every day was in 2011, when I started the year off with the goal of writing every day - for the entire year. Yeah, kind of crazy, I know. I made it through the end of March and for the rest of the year maintained at least five days a week. And this was back when pretty much no one read my blog and I did it for the sheer joy of writing, the necessary growing pains of becoming a writer in the verb tense, not only as a noun.
I don't know how I did it, when the idea of anyone reading my words daily seemed too crazy to imagine.
And I think that's sitting in the back of my mind, as I've wavered back and forth, deciding whether to participate in the 31-day challenge. Who would even want to read my words for thirty-one days straight? I even tire of myself for that long. If some bloggers imagine they might gain more readers this way, I fear I would lose the few I have: TOO MUCH AMBER popping up in my inbox.
But the other side of this struggle, the honest to God truth, is that I hate the thought of being left out. Left behind. It's this image of a girl standing on the ground watching her friends grab onto huge bouquets of balloons and lifting off, soaring higher and higher, further and further away. Of no longer standing in the same place but in different worlds, different levels. And as she stands watching, those friends become smaller and smaller, swallowed up in sky, as they fly off to discover distant lands.
And she's happy, truly, for their soaring. But she feels smaller somehow, too. Less significant there on the ground.
* * * * *
I miss the days when writing didn't feel like a competition, even as it also is, here, a beautiful diverse community. It still can feel, too often, like competing for a larger slice of the internet pie. A larger following. A larger body of published work in a variety of reputable places. And maybe, also, this feeling is more the reflection of my own writing demons than the reality itself. It can be hard to distinguish between the two, to separate "I am a blogger" from "I must grow my blog."
To pull apart "I am a writer" from "Look at me" is, for me, one of the thorns in my side - an inner wrangling of the motivations of my heart each time I lay my words bare on the screen.
If I can lay it all out in a naked heap, this is why I finally landed on the side of No. No, I won't be joining in the 31 days as a writer. I will be reading, and I will be cheering writers on, but for me, I know too well my heart in this season. My intentions are at best murky and I wish this weren't so. I admire those pure of heart writers who can genuinely say, "I don't care" with regards to stats and comments and following and shout-outs. I can't say that yet. I care, and I don't. I cheer, and I feel insecure. But where I really want to land as a writer is the place where I can be standing there on the ground looking up, whispering or shouting or breathless on my knees, "Look at her! Look at you!" and feel no undue smallness from below.
So those of you who are doing this, hear me: I applaud you. You soar, friends. Because I know, for many of you writers, this is about those words, that thing, burning in the depths of you that simply must come out. About needing to know you can or feeling you must, and those are all good reasons to do this. I will learn to become a better cheerleader, hoping this is what penetrates my heart after these thirty-one days of October. And maybe next year - maybe - I will join the masses.
Linking up with Unforced Rhythms