To Write, Yes. But to Become a Writer? No.
The main problem with which I struggle is related to what I see as the point of this and other posts about writing.
I am a retired former 30-year federal employee. I do not want to do what I did for them (and for 15 years before that, aviation) while retired. I have loved to read since I was in early elementary school (my favorite photo is one my Dad took of me when I was probably 7 or 8, laying on my chest on my bed, in my room, reading a book) and “English” was the topic at which I excelled through school and college.
So what is the problem with that, you ask? It is an easy explanation, I answer. One is what I do, one is what I am. One is an act, one is a state of mind.
There is a difference, no?
To help demonstrate the difference, for a few years in retirement, I used to drive a truck. But I was never a truck driver. The former is what I did (the act); the latter was my mindset.
In the same vein, I have always loved to read and write, but I never wanted to be a ‘writer.’
I have some internal force that wants to push words out onto paper, including this digital kind, but all the guidance and helpful posts on Medium and elsewhere seem to be directed to readers who want to become writers. They seem to assume that anyone wanting to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard wants to be A Writer.
Is there any hope for those of us who want to write but not be writers?
I do not want to make another career out of writing. I do not care to publish The Great American Novel or a short story or get paid money for publishing my words. I do not want to go back to college to take writing courses. And I do not want an MFA.
But I want to write. I want to involve myself in the valuable task of writing without adopting the mindset and culture of a writer.
And I do not mean just ‘put words on paper,’ To me, that is as wasteful and pointless as buying lettuce, cutting it up, then throwing it away because the shards are not consistent. Putting my words on paper needs to have a purpose of some kind and be of high enough quality to keep me enthused about doing it through the many drafts I will create. (This, for example, has been redone and thrown away and restarted and moved around many times since I started.)
To me, writing is more than merely putting meaningless words on paper or typing just to type, but I do not know how to soothe the savage beast within. I want to. Oh, how I want to.
So how do I start? Is this something I must struggle with myself, make my own rules, find my own way while I plod my own path? Or are there people reading who want to write but not be writers? Does that even make sense to anyone but me?
I do not know. Time will tell.