A friend of mine recently referred to herself as a 'closet writer.' She loves to write; she has a passion for it. Her closet is full of notebooks, but she refuses to share her words. It's only recently she's begun sharing any of it with anyone at all.
That same day, someone asked me when I knew I was a writer. My answer was easy. When I was young, maybe eight or nine, I was given an English assignment. I was supposed to write a single paragraph and include five specific words to show I understood them. I wrote an entire children's story about two dog detectives. Once it was done, I realized I needed to go back and add those five words into the story. I was so wrapped up in telling my tale that I forgot the entire point of the assignment.
I knew in that moment that I was a writer. I was, and am, meant to write. It's not something I do; it is who I am. A few years after that, I tried writing again. A novel this time. I had the story. I had the words. But I was missing one small detail. I could start a story, but I didn't know how to end it. I figured that I simply lacked experience.
I struggled for a while. So much happened at the same time in my life, that I lost sight of who I was. I lost myself, and I stopped trying. Eventually, I forgot that moment, the moment I realized I was meant to write.
I couldn't stop writing entirely. Words came out of me. I wrote poems and song lyrics. I poured my passion into rhythms and rhymes. But I insisted it was just a hobby. I never thought my words could ever go anywhere. I didn't think I was capable of making it, so I refused to even dream. I packed my passion away. I buried it in the back of a long, deep, dark closet.
For years, I lived that way. Convinced writing was just a past time, I searched for my 'true purpose'. I could never decide what I wanted to do with my life, because I refused to see my own passion.
Less than three years ago, I started talking to a couple of other authors. They also mostly wrote poetry. We created an online forum to share our work with each other. It was a great way to get feedback. One of them shared a six line poem with our group. It inspired a six page short story. I wrote it in one sitting. It's still one of my favorite things that I have written.
For the first time since I wrote that children's story when I was eight, I finished a new story. And I loved it. I soon gained the idea for a new story, and joined a writing challenge called NaNoWriMo. With a goal of writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, I never thought I'd be able to achieve it. It was impossible. But I reached out to an author who wrote a book I adored. I reached out to friends I knew who wrote.
But I did it. I won that challenge. I wrote the first 50,000 words of The Spark. I kept working after November because my story wasn't done. I finally managed to reach The End in January. I had done it! I had reached the end of my first novel. I had done what I believed was impossible.
Then I did it again when I completed The Ember, sequel to The Spark. I'm almost finished with the third book in the Future Of Flames series, Wildfire. The Spark and The Ember have been published. Wildfire will be released in a couple of months.
In my early teens I became a closet writer. I had hidden away my passion, and I felt lost. I forgot who I was, denied my own desire. I had locked away my dreams so tightly that I forgot I ever had them.
Then one day, I let them out to play, just for a moment. For a single evening I freed my passion, and it changed everything. I'm still relearning who I really am. I still can't quite grasp that I AM an author. I am a writer. It's not what I do. It's who I am. It's my craft, my passion, and my life.
I am taking daily steps to expand my craft. I'm trying to write every day. I keep my desk cleared. I purchased he tools I need, good pends and quality notebooks. I am invested in my passion. And when things seem overwhelming, I reach out to those I care about. I trust them to support me, and I offer them my support in return. There are authors and a publishing company who stand with me. And Danielle, who joined me in this blog. We work together to follow our passions, and even though we have different crafts, we encourage and support and push each other. I am no longer walking this road alone.
In expanding my craft, and letting my passion free, I have made some amazing friends. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And more than that, I am happier and healthier than I can ever remember being. I write now. Because this is who I am. A writer.
Who are you? What is your passion, and how can you let it free? How can you expand your craft? Can you imagine how following your passion can change your life?