I’m currently enrolled in three UC Berkeley Extension classes to obtain my Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Writing. Sitting in my Tuesday evening class, I wondered, Is my enthusiasm for the craft more than my actual talent for writing?
I let the forming pit in my stomach go away for a bit while I enjoyed every morsel my instructor doled out to my classmates and I that night. At home, I slept soundly and was happy to be challenged (finally) with my writing.
Today, as I write this, that pit has returned. This pit is anxiety wrapped up in doubt. My heavy stomach wants me to lie down, become distracted by visual media, and allow myself to believe that others could do it better than me. What is better? Everyone has a story to tell. I want to share myself with the world in some way. I’ve always expressed myself through writing. It’s the only way I truly know how to express myself.
During my Monday night Craft of Reading class, our instructor asked us to describe how we read. When I read my piece aloud, her reading of my process resonated with me. “Reading as a refuge.” That’s what she said about my piece. And I agreed with her. I read because books were my friends. I wasn’t attractive enough to be date-able. I wore glasses (which at the time was not kool). And I lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have much for this bookworm to do. I lost myself in books. I’d stay up on weeknights and weekends engrossing myself in other people’s lives and worlds – that were imaginary – but much more interesting than my current life.
I think about how the natural transition to writing would eventually happen but how it’s actually not that innate for readers. I know readers that Love words but would never dream of writing their own. So reader to writer – not always the case. How did I become a writer? I can’t think of anything else in the world to do. I NEED to write. Whenever I write down my insecurities or whatever’s on my mind, I feel a huge weight off my shoulders every time. Every. Time. If I can hone that into polished work, I’ll be golden. For right now, it’s about my writing practice. And also, to remember that writing is a lot of work and solitary time, but because I love writing so much, it doesn’t feel like work. Work feels like play.
If I can hold on to that and remember it’s about finding the best way to tell my story, I’ll be okay. Maybe that pit will slowly dissolve and I’ll be in good shape. I won’t feel the urge to turn on my TV and watch an episode of something for the hell of it.
For now, I’ll just write.