Y is for (A) Year Closer or Yahoo! I Can Almost Call Myself a Writer!

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It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.

And with that, I give you:

(A) Year Closer or Yahoo! I Can Almost Call Myself a Writer!

If you were to ask me when I started telling stories, I would tell you that I have been a storyteller since I was 4 years old. Hey, it passed the time waiting for the interminable military bureaucracy to get moving. If you want to know when I started writing some of those stories down, I’d have to say somewhere between 8 and 10.

If you want to know when I became a writer? Well, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

About 16 months ago, I joined this little on-line community, My 500 Words. The idea was to write five hundred words a day, every day for a month. Except that one month turned into two, turned into three and the community grew and grew until, at last count, we were about 4600 strong.

Before I stumbled onto this remarkable group of people, I played at being a writer. I bought scads of books on writing, I’ve had subscriptions to just about every writing publication available, spent a small fortune on writing classes that I either never bothered to attend or that I gave up on partway through. I don’t know why. I was passionately in love with words, with story and yet I felt the dream of being able to call myself a writer slipping away, the last rays of the sun as they slide below the mountain peaks I can see from my kitchen window.

What changed? It’s too easy to say I did, but it’s true. I started showing up. Butt in chair, hands on keys. At 11:45PM with a 4:30AM wake-up call. Sitting at picnic table at a campground in Sturgis, South Dakota, with a headlamp on, braced against an unseasonably cold summer rain that had me longing for the sweatshirts I’d left at home because who would need a sweatshirt in August? Refusing to go to sleep after a chorale concert because, well, 500 words. Going to my first writer’s conference and feeling completely out of my element, not to mention my league, but knowing – no, make that KNOWING I belonged there. Somehow. For some reason.

And here I am. Almost at the end of this remarkable A to Z Challenge, the one I almost passed up because I don’t have anything to say for 26 straight days, much less 26 straight days on a single theme. Except here I am, beyond all expectation.

Can I call myself a writer yet? I don’t know. It seems too grand a title to give myself, but I am closer to being one today than I was a year ago. Check back with me in another year, okay? And let’s see where the path has lead led me.

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