My life, a work in progress.
What would you answer someone new if they asked “What do you do?” Would you, like the guy in that Silverado commercial, be stumped trying to narrow down everything you do in life to one thing? Or would you respond with what you do in your daily 8-5? For me, it would probably be “I”m a software programmer,” with a few more details about the work I do.
When you think of what you do, we typically associate that with our work, career choice or daily job. Some might even respond with their favorite hobby or activity or passion. I think it has always been the case, however, that few people are fortunate enough for those two to coincide.
For me, my heart is not in “what I do” in my daily work. Oh, I diligently get up and actively participate in the business that employs me, and I do it well. Given the opportunity, however, there are myriad other things that I would pursue that are more in tune with who I am.
I am a builder, a creator, a nurturer, a communicator, a planner, a thinker, a tinkerer, a listener.
One career on my bucket list is that of a writer. While the thought of that career greatly appeals to me, I’m certain the reality of an author’s life is far different than what I imagine, and far beyond my current reach. I can hardly imagine ever responding, “I’m a writer,” to the “What do you do” question.
What are the qualifications for being a writer? At it’s foundation, a writer… writes. We all write in one way or another, whether it’s an email to a friend, a letter, a school essay, a blog post. Technically, we’re all writers. Why is there a distinction between one who writes in the course of living life and the one who writes for financial gain?
For a century or so, the concept of the approved professional has dominated our perception of quality and acceptability. Only an M.D. can properly treat our colds, only an ASME-certified mechanic can fix our cars, only a published author can rightly be called a Writer. Colleges, certifications, diplomas, credentials all testify to the common man’s unworthiness to even shine his own shoes.
Without throwing out all the worthwhile training such professionals have endured, I reject much of the attitude of professionalism. I would rather be adequately skilled in a wide variety of skills than excellent in only one. I would rather be able to care for my sickness, fix my own car and communicate through words rather than achieve greatness in software development and nothing else.
If you’d get down to the root of it, my heart is really in a wide variety of things rather than just one, and I experience fulfillment in participating in many types of work. Am I an auto mechanic? No, but I enjoy working on my vehicles. Am I a construction worker? No, but I enjoy building. Am I an author? No, but I write.
I put figurative pen to paper and communicate ideas and stories to whoever will read them. I have no illusions that I’m a professional, but have no need to convince anyone that I am.
I am adequately skilled at it. I might get better with more hard work and training. A writing course might even help, but I’ll only take one if I want to, not because someone says I should.
I write, and I enjoy it.
I think… I’m a writer.
Postscript, 4/21/2015 This article dispels – to me – the myth that becoming a clearly successful author can be accomplished by writing a scattered few hours here and there. Besides diligent writing – 4 hours a day! – this author is a very active salesman of his work.