It wasn’t as if I set out to be a writer. I was driven to it by my blood and bones. I was kidnapped by my muse as a primary school student. By Grade Three, I was writing plays and stories. In Grade Five, I was showing my stories to my teachers and getting feedback and encouragement. By the end of high school, there were two highly-derivative novels under my belt, one inspired by ‘The Silver Brumby’ series and another inspired by ‘The Sword of Shannara’. I write when I am happy; I write when I am sad. If I don’t write, I go slowly insane.
I know I am not the only person who suffers from this affliction. Most writers have this urge in some degree. It doesn’t make writing enjoyable all the time, the same way you can’t eat chocolate 24/7. As Ernest Hemingway said, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ It sometimes feels like that. At other times, I feel like I am flying on glowing wings constructed from words.
Because writing was like breathing, I only started taking myself seriously as a writer after I went back to university and achieved a degree in creative writing. And yet, I was the Science Queen for Voyager Online for fifteen years, had short stories published in anthologies, written articles published online and in magazines, and written text for brochures and websites. I still didn’t see myself as a writer.
I am part of a writing group that is a mixture of successful writers and emerging writers, and I know we all have days when we don’t feel like real writers. I’ve been a member of QWC for years. One bookcase is dedicated to books about writing, linguistics, collections of forgotten words, reference books, dictionaries, and grammar bibles. All my personal heroes are authors. Lots of my friends are writers and authors. What defines a writer?
Then I made the mental leap. I finally ordered business cards with the word ‘Writer’ on them, and that was when I stopped seeing myself as a wannabee. It was a decision to stop seeing myself as a dabbler and to see myself as a doer.
My current goals:
- To achieve one hundred rejections this financial year
- To finish writing the first draft of my latest novel by Christmas
- To continue working within the writing community to build relationships between writers
The journey never ends. I like that idea. Even when I am old, I will still be working towards being a better writer. Still bleeding. Still flying.
Lynne Lumsden Green is enjoying the aging process, contrary to all expectations. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, and after her midlife crisis went back and completed a B.A. in Creative Writing. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, and owns more books than book shelves.