My name is Dena, and I’m a writer.

There, I said it.

While I’ve always written, I haven’t always had the courage to come right out and say that I’m a writer. I mean, that’s for people who have been published, who’ve been on the New York Times best-seller list, who can visit their work in a bookstore. Right?

When my friend Katie Devine of the fabulous blog Confessions of An Imperfect Life invited me to join a blog hop, which entailed answering questions on my writing life, I started to think about myself a little differently. And as I began to craft answers to those questions, I realized that I actually take my writing very seriously.

As I’ve read the posts of other writers participating in the blog hop, I’ve seen a familiar theme—there’s a deep wariness to own up to our literary personalities. There’s an unworthiness in claiming what we’ve known for most of our lives. There is embarrassment in declaring the words to the world.

Maybe doubt is part of the writer’s journey.  Maybe it exists to prove what you are made of—and to affirm you actually have something to say.

I’ve heard it said that the words “I am” are your calling cards in the world, and the words that you choose to put after them are how you show up in the world. Too often we say things like, I am tired or I am stupid or I am broke. So, that’s who we become. I’ve written before that I selected the words “I am love” with deliberation as my mantra of sorts, because there is no other noble thing than to be the spreader of love. Now, I can claim a new “I am” mantra. I can say the thing that I’ve always known but have been hesitant to say.

I am a writer.

An insight into my writing life are in my answers to the questions Katie asked of me.  I’ve posted them below.

And, since this blog hop is also about discovering new writers, check out Katie’s work, as well as a blog from my brother Marc—who is a budding writer himself. Learn about them both at the end of this post.

 

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1) What am I working on/writing?

This year on the blog I’m writing a “Goodness of the Week” post every Sunday. The idea was to get myself in the habit of posting every week, as well as not to lose sight of what moved me each day, no matter how small. It forces me to keep my eyes open in search of my favorite moments of the day.

Outside of the blog I’m working on a couple of projects. One is a series of essays; the other, a work of fiction. Those characters have been with me for the better part of 10 years. Sometimes they move in with me and chat me up all day—a constant, chatty dialogue. And sometimes they go silent, as if they’re away on a long vacation. My goal is to maintain a steady enough conversation every morning to get their stories down on paper.

I find that once I start talking about the actual content, I stop writing, so I try to keep it all in my head and my heart so the words keep simmering like a good soup. And, hopefully the actual work will get better the longer I let the ideas have a chance to blend together.

2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

There are so many amazing writers out in the world, and the thing that makes everyone different is their own personal experience. Put two writers in a room with the same set of circumstances and they will come up with very different tales of what happened based on how they view the world. I’m a girl who moved around a lot when I was younger and had the good fortune to live on both coasts, so my understanding of the world is uniquely me—and very different than someone who lived in the same town her entire life. Spending a good part of my teenage years in California gifted me with a sunny outlook that is a welcome contrast to the sometimes cranky New Yorker side of me. Whatever I’m writing, I’m always bringing those dueling points of view to the page.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My intention when I started the blog was to focus on the good things in life, which I know sounds lofty and trite. But I had been in a funk and I simply wanted to figure out how to snap myself out of it. It didn’t really work like that, but what did begin to happen was I started to look for something good in each day, even if it was the teensiest glimmer of happiness. I discovered there really is something worthy of my attention before each sunset and after every moonrise.

Now I write not just to search for the good, but also to find my way through life. Now I write because I must. Ideas wrap themselves in my head and I have to figure out what they mean. My best way to find the meaning is to write them down. If I don’t, I go a little bit mad. The words want to see the daylight and breathe in the fresh air. And if they don’t, something feels a little unsettled in my soul. So, I need to let the words out to play when they are scratching at the screen door.

4) How does my writing process work?

It’s different with each piece. Sometimes the words just need to come out, and they fall onto the page with such a force it surprises me. Other times it’s a struggle to find the words to express what I want to say, if I even have an idea of what it is I want to write. These are the times when I find my way just by writing fragments of thoughts. And I keep at it. Eventually the thoughts string together into one coherent theme. Somehow, the words lead me where I need to go, and sometimes it’s a place I didn’t know I needed to visit. But I guess that’s a good metaphor for life, isn’t it?

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To see Katie’s answers, check out her blog here.

And, to pay it forward, I’ve invited my brother Marc to shed some light into why he started his blog – check it out next week here.

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Katie Devine is a writer who is leaving the corporate world behind to feed her wanderlust and travel the world. She anticipates many humbling life lessons along the way, which she will chronicle on her blog, Confessions of An Imperfect Life. Her work has appeared on sites including Thought Catalog, XOJane, The Manifest-Station, MindBodyGreen, Medium and Rebelle Society. Her first novel will be available at some point after she begins writing it.

When she’s not on a plane, you can find Katie taking endless Instagram pictures of sunsets at home in Santa Monica, CA. Connect with her on FB or Twitter.

WEBSITE LINK:  http://confessionsofanimperfectlife.com/

TWITTER LINK: https://twitter.com/katiejdevine

FB LINK: https://www.facebook.com/katiedevinewriter

INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/katiejdevine

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Marc Young is a native New Yorker who has lived the last twelve years in Columbia, MD with his wife and son. Marc has been a Human Resources professional for the last twenty years but has recently discovered his talent for blogging about his struggles with Parkinson’s disease.

Marc’s greatest passion is baseball, a love that he has had since discovering Reggie Jackson and the Yankees in 1977. He is also a loyal New York Giants fan, and has a love for fine cigars.

Connect with him on Twitter.

WEBSITE LINK: http://marcayoung.blogspot.com

TWITTER LINK: https://twitter.com/ReginaldBDogg

 

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