me? a writer…wut

I put off writing this for a week.

Despite writing numerous “why I write”s, I can’t confidently say I know myself as writer. Sure, I constantly appreciate writing in others, in the can’t-put-me-down novel, in the crisp dialogue of a solid movie, or the aesthetics of attractive marketing. We consume writing is a multimodal form, and I find myself writing in this realm. I rarely see myself a purely a writer writing solely for the sake of writing something. I often look to other media — sounds and pictures — to add to my writing. I find often writing or pictures alone cannot fully explain my ideas.

Writing’s pervasive nature appeals to me; I love the way it affects almost everything we do, consciously or not. Even with life-changing technology, from writing letters to drafting emails to sending texts, we constanly use words, pictures, emoticons to express ourselves and share tidbits of our lives with others.

As a writer, I am a communicator. I create pieces to share with others: photo blogs posts, instagram (follow me @ruchitaiyerphotography) pictures and captions, photojournalism. I tried keeping a diary for a year and royally sucked at it because I ran out of things to say about myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love personal writing for the clarity it provides and so often engage in this genre, but I greatly prefer more public forms of writing. That being said, sharing personal writing is hard, and I often distance these two sides of my writing self. The things I write for myself I rarely share with others, and the ones I create publicly I post everywhere.

I wonder if there is a way to bridge the two, if I even should connect them. After all, writing is solely a public endeavor; many people write personal things never to see the light of day or the eyes of another. Others writing smashing novels translated into a bajillion languages to transcend the regional boundaries. I see myself as a writer hovering between these two worlds, dipping my toes on both, yet not fully immersed in either.

At the end of the day, my writing and I, we change constantly. One day it’s for me, another it’s a birthday post for my roommate. But I find an attractive quality in the capricious nature — I wonder what type of writer I will be a month from now. A year?

Needless to say, upon completion, I feel good about this post, as I do with most piece I write. Of course, I may read back on in a couple days and be like what was I thinking. But for now….this is good.

Myself as a Writer

To start my story as a writer we first have to talk about the upbringing, high school. High school is the place many of us are the first thrust into the world of complex, analytical and linear world of essays, research papers, etc. There was never anything aside from essays about poems, essays for college applications and standardized test, research papers about assigned topics, or lab reports. Then I got to college and, for a while, it was about the same. That all changed when I got to the minor in writing. The gateway has been a world of experiments and unplanned prompts that come up at the beginning of class.

If we’re talking about now, the present, my writing is being characterized by experiments which I never thought would come through my writing class instead of my biology or physics labs. The experiments are not just referring to the projects we are working on currently, but also the various little prompts in our writer’s notebooks, most of which are unfinished. Sitting in this notebook are now snippets of my everyday imagination where my pieces reflect my frame of mind over a semester, most of which make me see as taking the humorous and satirical routes with the pieces in contrast to some of the more visual and metaphorical pieces my peers write. I enjoy putting these kinds of sketches to paper every class as I never do so outside of that classroom. Either way, my writing is now freer than ever. It does not fall under the linear and structured form of writing I had been put through most of my life. For now, my writing is unpredictable and at the will of T’s prompts and experiments and for the future, I’m unsure what direction my writing will take. All I know is that, right now, writing is the most fun it’s ever been.

Writing Right Now

Some days it’s easy to believe that I am a writer. The words I write have meaning, conveyed in articulate, smart, witty ways that people might enjoy reading. The words I write have meaning that is important. The words I write mean something to someone, somewhere.
Over the past half a semester, I have been challenged as a writer to believe in the words I write and the meaning they carry. On the days that it’s quite hard to believe that I am a writer of value, of worth, of importance, I find what I compose to be jibberish. It’s hard to believe that you yourself are a writer if you don’t see the value in what you’re trying to say. It’s hard for me to believe that I am a writer because I don’t always believe that I’ve earned that title.
However, what I’ve been challenged to consider is that the title “writer” is not necessarily something to earn, but rather something that is a given part of you. I can be a writer even if my class journal entry isn’t intensely profound. I can be a writer even if the draft of my essay won’t win a Pulitzer. In fact, I am a writer because of those works; they inform how I write and compose and communicate now. Right now.

What is a Writer?

There are days when I feel like such an artist. I feel like I’m the most interesting person on the planet and that anyone who comes across my work will impressed. These are days that I feel like I am a writer, a woman that has a way with words and a way with people. These days are few.

Many times I can sit around for hours and even days, and still not have any idea about what I want the world to know. If I say too little, it will be hard to see the value in my work, but if I say too much, someone will probably get bored and not care. I wonder if it really matters whether I say too little or too much, because in the end, both turn people away. Maybe that means my writing is only meant for people that care, and not everyone does. But just not everyone enjoys writing, the same goes for the readers, so can I really blame them?

I think I have turned away from the idea of who is a writer and who is not because truly, everyone is, there are just different degrees as to how much a person is invested. I don’t define myself as a writer, just as a person with interesting thoughts from time to time.

So I guess that goes to say that it is not worth beating myself up over who acknowledges me as a true writer because as long as I have substance to put down on paper or in some other form, I am a participant in this writing world.

Freeze this moment.

If I were to freeze myself, or my brain, or my typing fingers, or my hand with a pen in it and put it in a time capsule there’s a few main facets of who I am as a writer that would stand out to future earthlings.

  1. Writer=creator. Coming out of my experiment where I created a dance from a piece of writing, I have begun to equate these two words more than I have in the past. In creating and performing my dance, I’m sort of doing the same thing I would if I were to be writing, say, a research essay. I did preliminary research/work/preparation, I created an outline and a vision, a purpose, a message, and I made a product to be revised and polished. The thing with dance, though, as opposed to writing, is that I can’t just look in a thesaurus and nail my message into the audience’s heads with new ways of wording an abstract point. And as much of an exciting challenge that is to rely on movement to relay a message, I sort of miss that about physical writing. Every so often, I think I have something important to say, and the best way I know how to do that as of now is through words.
  2. As a physical pen-to-paper writer, I’m casual… with a purpose. I like to create a conversation with my audience because I am learning to make my pieces sort of a conversation with myself too, when appropriate, and stopping myself from going in with a lesson. I am finding such joy in realizing my message as I write, in not needing to plan, and in finding passion even when I didn’t think any was there.
  3. I’ve learned in the past year more than ever that writing is therapy. Doing writing, reading writing, it’s all good for the muddled, angry, scared, inspired brain. Sometimes it feels good to scribble your emotions down, letting tears drip down onto your page. Sometimes it feels good to list everything you love about life. Sometimes it feels good to list everything you hate. Do what you need to do, but do it in writing. In the last year, I’ve written through serious injury, terror, grief, and betrayal. And I’ve come out the other side. I’ve also written through love, bliss, inspiration, and excitement. And I’m that much happier.

I guess right now as a writer, I’m basking in the sheer power of writing as I explore and learn more about it. After all, this is only the gateway.