What does it really mean to be a writer?


A couple of days ago, I had a realization about my life and the choices I’m making when it comes to deciding on a career path and ultimately what kind of goals I want to accomplish while I’m down here on planet earth. I was thinking really hard about one of my bucket list goals; to write a book. Lately I have been really struggling with gathering that last bit of motivation to just sit down and start putting my ideas on the page. For the past year or so, I‘ve been keeping a journal and I try my best to take a few minutes every couple of days to reflect on life and keep track of what’s been happening in my world. Right now I feel like I am on the verge of doing something groundbreaking. At the root of it are a few very simple questions that don’t always seem that simple when you try to come up with the answers. Do I have what it takes? How do I get started? What’s holding me back?

My favorite writer at the moment is Haruki Murakami, a japanese author whose books have been translated into 50 languages and are read by people all over the world. His protagonists are often themselves writers of some sort who struggle existentially to understand the true nature of the forces at play in their worlds. What strikes me most about his work is his ability to capture some of the most mundane things in life and somehow keep his readers captivated through it all. In a recent release entitled WIND / PINBALL: Two Novels, Murakami shares in the introduction the story of how he became a novelist. In a nutshell, what he described was a strangely pivotal moment when the sound of a baseball cracking against a bat triggered the realization that he could write a book if he wanted to. As strange as that sounds, a little inspiration was all it took for him to get started. What he was missing all along was the belief in himself to become what he wished he could be.

I often sit down and write a few pages, I get my creative juices flowing a little bit here and there but once I go back and reread, I end up becoming overly critical of my work and I decide not to share it with anyone. Sometimes it’s just too personal, maybe I’m not ready to be that vulnerable to an audience. I desperately want people to understand that when I write, I am channeling what I believe to be a position of strength. There is a me in my head and there is a ME that exists on the page. What I have discovered is that the ME in black and white, the ME in Times New Roman, size 12 font, that ME is a powerful optimist capable of transforming the world that he lives in. The groundbreaking, turning point realization that I alluded to earlier is this; If I want to succeed then I have to muster the confidence to believe in myself, to believe that the only thing holding me back is my own refusal to acknowledge that the level of my power as a creative thinker is defined by my own standard of measurement. Sometimes I am just too afraid to accept the responsibility for deciding the path of my own destiny. Its easier to deflect the responsibility and blame someone else than to stand up and do for myself what has to be done. Here’s the short of it; if I don’t believe I can do it, then I will never go anywhere. I will not write a bestselling book until I believe in my heart of hearts that I can do it. I need to stop waiting around for someone else to do for me what I need to do for myself. I am the only thing holding ME back. I need to start believing in myself.

Below is the link to Murakami’s essay entitled, “The Moment I became a Novelist”

Haruki Murakami: The Moment I Became a Novelist


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