Everyday Writing and How It Defines Us

By: Linda Villamarin

Last week, I wrote a message to my sister wishing her luck on her test and reminding her how proud I am of her. In the afternoon, I made a document of all my expenses this month. After that, I wrote a cover letter, trying to convince a company that I was good enough for a certain job and that I deserve it. In the evening, I had to make a shopping list, otherwise, I’d return home from the supermarket with only half the things I need: bread, milk, toilet paper, tea, coffee, etc., etc... Before I went to sleep, I wrote to my ex, saying I missed him. I wrote and deleted that message more than ten times before I sent it.

They were just words, but they helped me remember what I need, to convey my love to the people I want in my life, or to let someone know that I am there, that I exist. Everything I wrote that day helped me exist in my world and in the world of others. I was there because of what I wrote to them. I transported myself to them with my words, on an invisible journey, trying to go as far as I wanted, and as far as they would let me go. Writing defined me that day and continues to do so every day.

I've always written a lot. Having a diary has always been something really normal for me, since I was very young. When writing essays for school, I always put my best effort into them, to present my work as best as I could, even if the subject itself wasn’t very important to me. Every email I send is personal and honest, even if it’s just a business email. I’ve also had a personal blog, which I posted on on a monthly basis. There have been so many things that I’ve done with writing, but, even so, when someone asked me “and what do you do?,” I said something else, that thing I did parallel to my writing, that for which I was paid, my “real job.”

We write all the time. It's like a need, something that defines us and that we love, but even so, we don't always dare to say out loud, “Yes, I'm a writer.” It must be interesting the day we introduce ourselves the way that we really are and not the job that we have. It’s hard to say “I am writer” out loud. It’s like coming out of the closet. I’m not sure when I started telling people that I’m a writer, but I must say, I was a writer long before I told people about it. I just wasn’t ready to talk about it, to admit it. The responses I hear most often are “Oh wow, really?,” “How is that work?,” ”People pay you just to write?,” and “That’s actually a job or just a hobby?”

What happens when we sit down to write, and we don't know what to write about? What topic is important or relevant? Who will read our work? Where will we be published? While doubt eats away at us, something it seems to never stop doing, we send messages, answer emails, write little notes that we leave stuck on the bathroom mirror reminding ourselves that we are strong and we can do everything, make to-do lists or notes for ourselves about the TV series and films we want to watch.

It’s so easy to say out loud that one is a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher. If those professions are equally hard and competitive, why don’t we have the same confidence about our writing? Does having a diploma or payment makes us more worthy? Does it defines us? What’s really hard to admit is that what we love, not what we do for money, defines who we are. Maybe admitting that we write means admitting that we’re not good at talking, admitting that, every day, we look for something new in our hearts to put on paper, and just that is what is difficult to accept. It’s not always easy to talk about how we feel, and even more so, if it’s something that is built into our personality.

Because writing is more than a profession. It's a lifestyle. It leaves small pieces of who we are in every word we communicate, every SMS, every email, cover letter, every review of a movie, hotel, etc. Who we are, what we write stays there in those letters. It’s a drop of our essence that we give to those who read us. A gift (not to mention the issue of payment), but after all, a part of our heart for someone else, and giving away our heart and what we think is a constant challenge. Even when we think that we aren’t writing, we are. It’s our way of being and seeing the world. Even if communicating through writing is our only way to express ourselves well.

What makes me a writer? That I could never say all this in one conversation. I could never make myself understood as I just have. It's my playing field, my ring, my arena.

I'm a writer.

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