Many years ago, I had a conversation with a random guy at a bar. It was one of those special conversations that allows you to see things in a different way, one that makes you question some things that you have never thought to question before, one of those conversations that changes everything.
We were talking about our passions in life and I was telling him about my cakes and my addiction to journaling and he said “So you’re a writer?” Well, no, not really, I just write in my journal a lot. “So you write?” Well, yes, but only in a journal. “Then you’re a writer.” This conversation has really stuck with me over the years, and I think about this concept a lot.
Am I a writer? Am I an architect or an artist for that matter? What makes one qualified to claim a title? I feel comfortable claiming that I am an architect because I have put in my time and passed the state licensing exams. But a writer? Maybe I don’t feel qualified because I don’t have any formal training, or because I haven’t had anything published or been paid to write. Its the same with art. I have a minor in art, and a degree in graphic design, but I still feel a little weird calling myself an artist. But here’s the thing: I feel driven to write and to create art. I know that whatever comes along in life, I will continue to participate in those activities no matter what. I will find a way, I will work it in – whether or not I get paid for it – because I have to. When I don’t write and when I don’t create art something is missing and I’m not completely myself. So, which is more qualifying: getting paid to do something, or knowing in your soul that you have to do it?
I’ve been a closet writer for a very long time, filling thumb drives with more crap than anyone would ever care to read. But I finally got to a point where I realized that I had to start putting myself out there. I had to get this out. I was about to explode. So I started my blog, and I’m starting to submit my writing to various publications as opportunities arise. I realized very recently that I finally have something to write about. I have gone through a lot of crap and figured a lot of stuff out through my writing. And it’s pretty ironic that the very things that I have figured out through writing are the things that I feel the need to share…my struggle with finding my place in this world, my journey to loving and accepting myself as I am, my search for my purpose in life. Those very struggles are what have given me something to write about. I had a major aha moment when I realized this. Every single trial, obstacle, problem, and painful situation that I have ever encountered were really just God giving me something to write about. I love this. What problems are you encountering right now? Try to realize that they are gifts. God is giving you something to write / sing / paint / whatever about. Whatever it is that you do will inevitably have a deeper meaning and a stronger impact on others after you have crawled through the trenches and emerged on the other side and can share what you have learned. It will carry your blood, sweat and tears; it will have a part of your soul and your struggle in it. And others will connect with that, because they will recognize their own journey in it.
© Haley McManigal 2014
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