KeAnne straddles the world of IT and marketing at large university. After work, she can be found chasing her 3-year-old son, herding cats (literally), attempting to read and watching the Food Network obsessively with her husband. She considers Twitter part of her job and explores the sacred, profane and all points in between on her blog Family Building with a Twist.
When I was in elementary school, I wrote a book of fairy tales full of beautiful princesses with elaborate names like “Esmeralda” and “Melody,” dashing princes, fairies and quests.
When I was in junior high, I wrote pretty bad short stories about beautiful, smart girls who somehow managed to attract the most popular boys in school despite not being in the popular clique.
In high school, my writing turned more introspective. I still gifted my characters with outlandish names like “Tierney” or “Evangeline,” but my focus became darker as there was usually one lonely teenager who was left out – not excluded, but not as cherished as she believed others to be. The people I knew began to creep into my writing as well as I wrote character sketches in which I tried to analyze their behavior and motivations.
I wrote because stories appeared in my head and begged to be released. I wrote because it was more fluent than my speech. I wrote because if I didn’t, all my anxieties and worries and thoughts stayed bottled up inside my brain, and writing was therapy. Writing acted as a crucible for me, taking garbled thoughts and ideas and turning them into something refined and clear as I struggled to get them on paper.
My writing was wish fulfillment. My writing was escape. My writing was sense-making. Despite my obvious need to put pen to paper, I never called myself a writer nor wanted to be one. Writing was something I did; I never examined my motivations closely.
In college and beyond, instead of fantasy and introspection, I wrote essays and arguments. I wrote a Master’s paper. I walled off the part of my brain that begged to think and write freely. Despite implementing and managing a blog at work, I never wrote for it because I didn’t think I had anything to say or worth saying. My days of writing for pleasure were behind me.
There were a few cracks in that wall, however. My semi-anonymous infertility blog provided me with the outlet I needed for the dark days of failed treatments, thoughtless comments and despair I felt. It helped me pour out all the bitterness inside me and helped me to connect with other women with infertility. Though lonely and isolated in real life, my blog helped me find an online community, understanding and support, support that nurtured me as we began to consider the ins and outs of gestational surrogacy, our longed-for positive beta and finally the birth of our son.
Last August I turned in my Master’s Paper and graduated from grad school after five years as a part-time student. My son was now two and I found myself for the first time in years with the chance to pursue a hobby. I wanted to blog. Write. As I re-engaged with the wider world, the words tumbled out. That wall I had built crumbled down with every post I wrote, and post ideas multiplied and tussled for supremacy in my head. Blog post begat blog post, and I started to look for more opportunities to write. The itch, the need, was back.
I may be a blogger, but am I a writer? Is what I do on my tiny corner of the Internet writing? Are people who get paid to write the only ones allowed to call themselves writers? Or is being a writer a state of mind?
I don’t know any definitive answers to those questions, but I do know that a writer is simply someone who writes. I write; therefore, I am a writer. I may never be paid to write a word and I’m fine with that. As long as I have my blog, my tiny room of my own, on which to write, I will proudly call myself a writer. Finally.