On Being a Writer – Identity

The idea is notto live forever,but to(3)

One day, a friend that I met a couple of years ago at a retreat, started playing around with ink and watercolor and just happened to share the results on Facebook. I couldn’t believe that this picture I saw before me was something that she had just sketched out and then started painting. it was wonderful.

I put in the suggestion that if perhaps she wanted to sell some prints one day I’d be more than happy to help her out. She developed a couple other lovely prints and then began to sell them. Eventually, she used the money raised to get to Allume, a fantastic conference in the south. The print was a typewriter with the words ‘Writer’ fleshed out in typeset above it. It spoke to me about things that could be, about a word that I wished I could claim whole-heartedly.

“Questions fly when we wonder what to call ourselves. After the questions and the doubts come, hopefully so do the words.” – On Being a Writer; Kroeker & Craig

At the retreat where I attended several years earlier with this same girl, I had been seated at a table beginning to eat lunch and overheard a conversation that took place across the table from me. Two of the ladies had met previously at another conference and they were reintroducing themselves to one another. The one lady said, ‘I found your card the other day. And it brought me to tears. Because on the one side in bold letters you have the word ‘Writer’ and I so wanted to be able to claim that name. And so I have put your card up in front of my desk and each time I find myself listening to the lies about my writing, I look at your card and I claim that word and I begin to write.’ By the time she had finished this short paragraph I was in tears across the table…also because they had tears on their cheeks as well. I knew this heart cry. I knew this desire for something that would get me past the lies to the truth.

Several weeks later I received the print in the mail. She had done a beautiful job and decorated the outside of the envelope and inside the print was wrapped in some tissue paper and some rustic string. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I set it on the shelf, with the words peaking through, just enough the let me see them, but to not have to let them influence my life too much. I was afraid. Afraid of opening the package and claiming the words that were there.

One day I expressed these fears to a friend. She challenged me with the following:
You write. You’re a writer. Just because you don’t write in a certain platform doesn’t matter. You write because God’s called you. There is something in you need to write. My writing looks different than other people. Frame that picture and put it up and CLAIM IT!”  – Kris Camealy

I took my print off the shelf, tucked it under my arm and marched myself over to Winners (like TJMaxx) and found myself a frame. And I put that print in the frame and then hung it up on the wall…right next to my bed. I see it when I wake up in the morning and when I got to bed at night.

And to be honest, it still seems to be something that gets under my skin. Because there are times that I don’t have a problem saying that ‘I write’ but saying ‘I’m a writer’ just seems so much harder to get past my lips. I think it’s because I am in awe of so many amazing blessings that I have in the writing of friends who are around me. I know some insanely gifted people. And yet what my friend said IS true…i don’t write like anyone else but me. i have been given words by God to work through my life, to share my thoughts with others, to ponder what is happening in this world and to learn things from others and there is nothing wrong with that. Just because my words don’t look like others, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the writer bone in me, the writer blood in my veins, the writer thoughts in my mind just chomping at the bit to be put down whether through keys or writing.

on being a writer

joining up with those over at Kate’s to walk through this book together. ‘On Being a Writer’ by Ann Kroeker and Charity Craig

5 thoughts on “On Being a Writer – Identity

  1. Janel, I love this post so much and can identify with every word. You are indeed a writer. And SO MUCH THIS my friend: “Because there are times that I don’t have a problem saying that ‘I write’ but saying ‘I’m a writer’ just seems so much harder to get past my lip.”

  2. Janel, I love that you framed your print, and that you see it every morning when you wake up and every night when you go to bed. May God and others continue to spur you on in your gifting as you begin to identify as a writer more and more.

  3. I love this! We have to accept that we are unique and stop comparing ourselves to others. Claim it sweet friend! You are a writer!

  4. Why do we ALL struggle with claiming this gift (as Tara so rightly called it). You’re a beautiful writer and a beautiful person Janel! I wanna see a picture of the print by your bed…hint, hint….

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