Desire to Write vs. Desire to Be a Writer

The desire to write grows with writing. – Desiderius Erasmus

John over at the Desk.pm community put this up as a writing prompt and it lined up well with some conversations I’ve had recently.  Some friends have been reading the blog or at least seeing that I’m blogging and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Most people are convinced that I’m blogging every day, but the self-depricating data nerd in my head reminds me that it’s not every day. (Don’t worry, I’m not obnoxious enough to point this out to anybody and ruin a perfectly good compliment.)

I’ve blogged almost every day this year so far and I have to agree with our friend Erasmus, my desire to write is growing every time I do it. Where this quote intersects with my life is that I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I’ve take a few shots at it and I always get compliments on my writing (not that anyone would tell me if I was a terrible writer, I guess). But if you’re reading closely you already picked out the distinction.

I always wanted to be a writer. That’s different desire from wanting to actually sit down and write (boy, I’m loving these italics today. What’s that all about?). Dorothy Parker said it well: “I hate writing, I love having written.”

I don’t hate writing, far from it. But I’ve spent years waiting to feel like writing or waiting for some sort of inspiration to hit. Now that I’m writing more consistently, that preciousness is fading away and I am free to get down to the business of just writing. I don’t really edit, my grammar is passable enough to get by. I might have obsessed a few years ago about which punctuation mark goes where or if this needs a comma or semi-colon (or semicolon), but that would have just been a distraction from me actually writing.

My post on finding a purpose vs. living with purpose (you can read it here) is really setting the tone for this year so far. Instead of wanting to be a WRITER (trying to find a purpose), I’ve been able to shift towards really wanting to WRITE (living with purpose). A new job title isn’t going to be the thing that makes a difference in my life, but me waking up every morning thinking about how I can contribute or wondering what to write is doing wonders for me.

I’m in a period of liminality, where I’m looking for developer jobs to apply to, writing emails, and putting myself through exercises so those muscles don’t atrophy. It would be very easy to define myself by my lack of job title in this time. Instead, I have work to do and blogs to write, so I don’t have time to sit and wallow in my lack of identity. Instead, when I get a job, I’ll probably be doing the same amount of work I’m doing now, only I’ll be getting paid for it (and if that can happen sooner rather than later, that would be awesome! haha).

So Erasmus is right, my desire to write is increasing with me actually writing. My desire to “be a writer” was only increasing by me dreaming about it, and oddly that didn’t amount to too much in the end.

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