All my life, I’ve cherished the written word. I’ve leaned on it for comfort, been transported by it when I’ve felt stuck, and calmed myself with it when my rage offered no other escape. I’ve used words to twist frustration into laughter, fear to courage, chaos to order. Hundreds of thousands of words have spilled from my fingers via pen and keyboard, and yet it has always been difficult to say the words, “I am a writer.”
Somehow, before I completed my novel, I found a reason to diminish the value of everything else that I’d written. No, that’s not quite true. I found a reason to diminish myself, my talent, my gift — and that’s sad, not only for me, but for so many other great writers out there who feel the same way.
Sure, completing and publishing a novel is a tremendous triumph; seeing that ISBN number on the screen for the first time feels like snagging the Holy Grail; finding my name on the cover of a book, at first surreal and then powerfully tangible, is highly validating. But now that I’ve done it, I realize all of that didn’t make me a writer. It just gave me permission to call myself what I had been all along.