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Twenty Something - On Writing


Crystal J. Stranaghan

I've been doing a little housekeeping lately. Not the kind that requires you get down on hands and knees and battle the resident dust colonies singlehandedly. I believe that dust has just as much right to a home as the rest of us...

I mean housekeeping in my computer. Brushing the dust of the old files, and peeking into the brain of the girl who used to be me. It's kind of like reading your diaries from 6 th grade.

I have resurrected a project that I haven't worked on seriously for a while, and was looking for a bio that I might have on file as a base for a current one. I discovered one I had written for a writing submission about five years ago, and as I read it I actually found myself laughing out loud. Not in a bad way - it's just that I obviously wholeheartedly believed what I was writing at the time and now I just as wholeheartedly disagree with about 95 percent of what I was reading.

Interestingly, there was only one consistent detail between what I wrote then and what I would write now (not including my name of course!), and that was my very real desire to be a writer. Or how did I put it exactly; my goal was “to lose the “aspiring” and be simply "a writer”!”

It was that phrase that got me wondering.

It is an interesting tendency we have, to discount our efforts in this area (writing) unless they yield financial gain. I'm pretty sure that's what I meant at the time – that I would qualify as a “real” writer when my work brought in some money and therefore validated its existence and the time and energy I have put into it. Apparently I didn't feel the ten dollars I won in a poetry contest when I was in grade nine really counted!

In the past five years I have revised my definition as to what constitutes a real writer.

First and foremost, if you are writing at all, and feel this is important enough to include in a list of the things that are important to you and help make up your character – then you may call yourself a writer.

(Published authorship is a whole different ballgame...but I'll get into that another day....)

Secondly, if people are reading what you are writing – then you are successful. Even if it's only one person...because isn't the purpose of writing anything to communicate that idea or image or sentiment to another person? Why else could you possibly need to write it down? If you have successfully communicated that idea to anyone, then you have succeeded in your purpose.

T o all you fellow writers out there congrats on having the courage to share your work!

Crystal J. Stranaghan © 2006

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