It starts somewhere at the base of your belly. Spills out in half-written sentences and metaphors without context just yet. Thoughts shrieking behind cages and begging to get out. Writing begins as a glorious mess, but it always comes from that shrine at the base of your belly.
My writing process is living and breathing. Existing in the same fractured world we’re all in and itching to vent about it. My process is throwing up the words violently, even when they come to me at an inconvenient time like right now as I sit in the Wegman’s parking lot, the minutes from my lunch break dwindling. I have to unload the words, otherwise they escape my memory as quickly as they appear.
My inspiration is every ugly thing. Every beautiful thing. Every gritty thing. Every monotonous thing. Every day that pushed me to the edge and every experience that took me to the cliff. Every young man who stained my heart with skepticism. Every love story I ache to have. Every observation I make about the person in the car next to me at a stoplight. Every verse and every refrain. Every tear and every cackle. Every night with a glass of wine. Every moment I catch his eyes for a second too long. My inspiration is a mosaic of what life offers most people. Except I grip the moments that others let slip from their fingers. If you’re a writer, you’re also an emotional hoarder.
My soul does not operate with any rhyme or reason. My mind thinks things through, but my soul just pours things out. It never sleeps. People ask me when did I know I was a writer. I want to tell them that there is never a distinct moment of revelation for an identity that has been brewing in your blood since you were born.
I understand why people take the word “writer” seriously. I understand why everyone is not quick to snag the title. Because once you say you are a writer, you can’t ever say you aren’t. You can’t ever back down and you can’t ever go back to seeing the world in pure black and white. When you call yourself a writer, you sign your name in ink and surrender your story to the masses. You become a sacrificial lamb, someone who will confess and express if it means leading another human being to lay her burdens down.
When you call yourself a writer, that title demands your honesty–with the readers and with yourself. You can’t produce something if it’s not there. You can’t feign writer’s block because you’re lazy. You can’t write piece-of-shit listicles, at least not without feeling a white hot streak of guilt pass through you. You can’t publish anything if it didn’t rise from the depth of your soul and that base of your belly. But, every time you write, you have to carry yourself to the hot hell of your spirit. You have to be willing to go there. All the way. Not just when it feels good. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when the words flow freely. Not just when it hits you. No, all of the time.
There are entire courses dedicated to tell you how to become a full-time entrepreneur or how to run a webinar or how to build your email list. You can teach those sciences. But, it’s not so easy to teach this art. You can’t always teach someone how to pen the story shouting from their spirit. Some people spend entire lifetimes deaf to the tone of their own souls. Sometimes you have to learn on your own how to push the pen until it reaches that sacred place. You have to learn on your own how to fall at the altar of your own vulnerability. You have to learn on your own how to seize confidence from corners of yourself that were once cloaked and decrepit.
When I say writer first, blogger second, it is a disclaimer: don’t come here expecting pretty pictures or “10 Ways to Get Your Lipstick to Last During Your Night on the Town.” I made a promise not to barter my soul for hits or clicks or the draw of potential clients. Maybe that doesn’t make me marketable, but it damn sure makes me, me.
When I say writer first, blogger second, it means strap on your boots and be ready to trek through the mud with me.
When I say writer first, blogger second, I am telling you that once you come here, I have already peeled back my layers. I am letting you peer at my core. I’m reminding you that my core only reflects some of the stories inside of you that you have yet to tell.
When I say writer first, blogger second, it is so I can express my strongest, loudest and most prominent identity, the one that keeps me up at night and stirs me awake in the morning.
When I say writer first, blogger second, it is to declare that I have had a love affair with the way words work since I learned how to sharpen a pencil. So, by the time these words have reached you, they have saturated my spirit and spilled through my fingertips. I didn’t pull them out of my ass. I took my time with them.
Because when I say writer first, blogger second, I am telling you that this is some strangely spiritual experience for me. A calling from some being high in the sky. A compass that leads me out of the tunnel. Writing is how I rise from the ruins.
So, I take it seriously. I take you seriously. I take the extinct art of human connection seriously.
The blog is only the medium. But, the words are the message. When I say writer first, blogger second, it means I will always honor the message over the medium.
When I say writer first, blogger second, it is never to diminish the role and work of a blogger. I have a hell of a lot of respect for (most) bloggers. Bloggers are the connective tissue of the Internet. And, I am one of them. So, I say all of this to draw the distinction. Because writers are artists. And artists are the connective tissue of the world.