For years, I wanted to be a writer, and I have written close to 1,000 stories, poems, articles and songs, not to mention countless memos, reports, newsletters, flyers and a whole host of materials for training classes.
I wrote, but I wasn’t a writer – I was a person who wrote stuff.
I didn’t become a writer until almost two years after I retired, on the day I decided I didn’t want to be a consultant, I wanted to write. That’s the day I changed my job title on LinkedIn to Writer.
I am a writer because writing is finally the thing I get up in the morning to do. It’s the thing I do while I’m waiting to get my haircut, while I eat at fast food restaurants, on trains and buses, planes and in the car while I am waiting for someone.
I don’t write because I should, I write because I want to, and that’s the point. I don’t care if I ever get paid for it (although for the record I would be happy to get paid), I just want to write.
I wanted to be a writer in college - I even practiced my pose for the picture on the back of my novel. But, I gave in to the pressure to find a real job, telling myself that I could write in my free time. And I did. I even submitted a number of things, and got pretty good at not taking rejections personally - but I wasn’t really a writer, I was a manager who wrote.
I became a writer when I gave up the need to have something else to do so I could become a writer, when writing became the thing I put other things off to do, when I gave myself permission to write first.
And now I do.
Now, every time I write something that makes my wife laugh, or makes me choke up as I read it, every time I tell a story that comes to life on the page or figure out how a story is going to work out, I feel a level of satisfaction I never got from my ‘real’ job.
Now, I am a writer.
What do you want to do? What do you wish you had more time for? What’s keeping you from doing it? I could have been a writer who had a job as a manager, but I was a manager who wrote on the side. And I wasted a lot of time.
You don’t have to wait … you do have to commit. When people ask you what you do, say you are an artist, a singer, a photographer, filmmaker, or whatever else you want to do - and mean it. Committing to your goal is the key to achieving it. Even if it just seems like a dream, if you put it out there, you will find people who can help or encourage or support you. We all want to see someone realize their dream, it lets us know there is still hope for ours.