I recently had the privilege of reading a short story written by the daughter of a friend of mine. She is a high school student and her parents were once told never to expect her to be able to write creatively.
Why would anybody, particularly a person in the education field, ever say something so discouraging?
As I read the story, her distinctive voice resounded strong and clear. The story itself was dark, even slightly disturbing, but interesting nonetheless. Her teacher did not care for it and asked her to change it. The girl declined, stating essentially this was her story and she was sticking to it, and so the teacher refused to include it in a "published" book the students were creating for parents.
This situation reminded me of something I witnessed when I was shopping for a preschool for my daughter many years ago. As I toured one facility, the students were busy with an art project, gluing cotton balls within a snowman outline that was printed on the page. I walked past one particular child who was being corrected by the teacher because he had decided to glue the cotton balls to the top of the page instead. I'm not a teacher, and there may have been some developmental purpose behind making each student conform to gluing the cotton balls inside the lines. But I was annoyed. If he wanted to glue the cotton balls somewhere else on the page, go for it! Let him revel in his unique take on the project. This was that child's personal art.
Whether you're gluing cotton balls on a page, or crafting words, it is art. Your personal art.
For myself, practicing the art of writing is as necessary as breathing. The act of crafting words gives me such an incredible natural high. It is a feeling I crave.
For those of you who love to write, you know what I mean. And for those of you who don't, I'll bet you can imagine something else in your own lives that gives you that satisfying blend of accomplishment, of joy, of simultaneous blessing and being blessed.
After finishing the girl's story, I pondered the question: How do you know when you're a writer?
I am a freelance writer and I get paid to write. And I love, LOVE getting paid for my writing. But I would still write, whether it resulted in a paycheck or not.
I say to anybody who feels the urge to write creatively, go for it! It doesn't matter what anybody tells you. It doesn't matter if you get paid to do it. It is your personal art. If you love it. Crave it. Dream about it. If you can't be away from it for too long because you believe you'll go crazy...
You are a writer.
“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”
~ Thomas Berger ~
Image by: Dave Goodman