Am I a writer

I write for a living.

I write for fun.

But am I a writer yet?

I don’t feel like I am and yet I have a problem trying to improve myself as a writer.

I finally took the time today to go through the MANY saved pins on my Pinterest Writing board. I love what I am finding.

Story outlines, resources, tips, encouragement, everything is there for me.

Yet, I cannot make myself use it.

I feel like I am starting in the middle of something. I do not feel like I’m on the Go space. I feel like there is so much more I have to go through before I am worthy of all this new gold mine of information. I feel like I have not dug far enough.

A shout out to the Eva Deverell and Lady Writers League (Eva Deverell: http://eadeverell.com The Lady Writers League: http://ladywritersleague.com). I just signed up for her emails and I already love her work to help writers flourish.

Her first emails asked these questions:

“Have you secretly LONGED to write a novel but didn’t know where to start?

Maybe you even had an idea, but as soon as you sat down to write, you found that you couldn’t transfer that idea onto the page?

Or perhaps you got partway through a novel and then realised something was wrong and you couldn’t figure out how to fix it?”

You are not alone, she says, and that has made me feel a little better.

So what is the solution to my problem?

Looking at why this is happening, many things come into play:

Fear of course is the biggest thing. Feeling lazy is another one.

Combine the both of them and it is a rather daunting task to look at the novels on my shelf and want to create one of my own.

I guess time and hardwork will tell.

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The power of ‘can’t’

I’ve never pushed myself.

I’ve always been quick to give up.

I’ve always been quick to use the word can’t in place of won’t.

It’s easy to make that replacement.

I honestly don’t know the difference anymore.

I can’t say I’ve ever cared much for running marathons, maybe for the reason of thinking I’d never be better than the other girls in class.

I’m starting to realize that wasn’t the point. Being better than my past self should have been the point.

I don’t know why that didn’t sink in until now.

Is it too late to get better. Not because I’m getting older but because this attitude is so deeply ingrained that can I change it?

It’s going to be hard. It’s got to hurt. And I need to realize that.

Cry for help

This is my cry for help.

I post it here because I know none of my family will read it.

I don’t want them to know what is happening because I don’t think they would understand. I’ve heard it many times. Brush it off, grow up, you’re only doing it for attention.

I don’t want the attention.

I’m on the verge of tears but I don’t want to call anyone because I’m afraid of appearing weak or fragile.

I don’t want to be any of those things.

But I’m afraid of the person I’m becoming. I’m starting not to care. I’m starting to look at the world more negatively. I’m starting not feel numb.

I don’t want to be any of those things.

I have my amazing husband but I’m afraid if I bring these problems to him too much, he’ll get frustrated enough to leave. I don’t think I could survive that but I don’t want to break that easily. I never want to be that person. But I know I need him and I never want to lose him.

I find even sadder that I don’t trust him to stick around even though that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

I don’t want to be emotionally dependent on him, either. My mental health should not solely be based on him. And I would never place that burden on him.

I don’t want to be a cynic, I don’t want to give up, I don’t think I ever would but I know there is something wrong and I don’t know how to fix it.

What am I doing so wrong in my life that I feel I have no one. If I was living my life right, wouldn’t I not have this problem?

That’s why I am a journalist

I didn’t start paying attention to the names of people on the cover until I was in my early 20s. But I knew their faces and voices.

People like Anna Marie Tremonti, Adrienne Arsenault, and of course, Peter Mansbridge.

The stories in the essay collection, That’s Why I’m a Journalist, is the people I always wanted to be, although I didn’t know it at the time of the question, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’.

They speak in the book about stories that highlight their careers. Stories that have affected them in some way. Stories that meant something to them.

Although a lot of them are the huge breaking stories that started them off on mind-blowing career, that is not the reason that those stories has had such an impact on their lives.

It is the difference they made telling the story that has impacted them. The stories of spending month trying to get Scout Canada to admit of scouts being sexually abused (Diana Swain), and walking through a city full of dead bodies and seeing children left orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti (David Common).

That is what journalism is to these amazing journalists.

That is the reason I wanted to become a journalist.

Anna Marie Termonti told her story about the fighting in Sarajevo and going into town after town talking with people who were hiding in basements afraid of the shelling and a makeshift hospital with wounded men, women, and children.

“These were victims of war,” she writes, “But they weren’t one-dimensional victims.”

“They had nothing, but they offered us everything. It was impossible not to marvel at the kindness and generosity of those people.”

These stories are the ones I feel I won’t have the guts to get but the ones I want to report on.

Going to school in King’s College in Halifax, the first thing Stephen Puddicombe said to us before he even started his first research class is why the f*** we were there? Wasn’t there something better we could have done with our lives than be journalists? We should all just pack up our bags and leave.

To some, this was a shocking question and an unwanted one. This was a question that harden that little seed of doubt the ones that didn’t know if they wanted to be journalists already had. These were the ones that complained that that wasn’t the right atmosphere a teacher should put us in before our first class even started.

For others, it strengthened their resolve.

If you could listen to Puddicombe rant about why you shouldn’t become a journalist in those first ten minutes of his class and not want to run from the room, that was your first step in becoming a journalist.

For me, I crossed my arms and sat there, taking whatever Puddicombe could throw our way. I knew I wanted to be there and nothing he could have said at that time could have made me think otherwise.

I’ll do it when…

I’ll do it when I have more time. It’s always my excuse.

Talking about writing. I’ll do it when I’m not working a job I hate.

Finally working a job I love. I’ll do it when I’m not writing so much.

I respect people who battle their own minds. I can never seem to will that battle with mine.

I wish I had that drive people have. I’ve already come to forgone conclusion that I don’t have any drive in me.

You already know I’m a procrastinator. I’ve almost seemed to have been that when it comes to working this new found job that I love. As soon as I start, you can’t stop me.

It’s the starting that is the problem.

Wait, scratch that.

I guess I can’t say it’s a problem. There has not been a time yet that I haven’t made a paper deadline or been late with too many stories. I’ve left some on the sidelines so I could trying polishing the rest but I haven’t been to the point where I didn’t have more than enough of my work to go around.

But that is work. That is getting paid to write. That is doing the job I love and having something else drive me.

That has been another ‘I’ll do it when…’.

When I get paid to write fiction; brilliant, brilliant fiction, then I’ll work harder. Then I will have more drive. Then I will…

If not know, when? When will the ‘doing it when’s stop?

Bus riding enthusiast

Call me crazy but I love riding the bus.

I got on the bus to Saskatoon last night and I couldn’t get over how much I missed riding the bus.

Part of it is that I love to be moving. Any time where I am moving from point A to point B is exciting for me.

Now living in a place where I have no transit service (you get to go across the city for $3, what’s not to love, guys), the times when I will be using the bus now will only be to go across the province.

I loved it last night because there is no better way to see a province or a city but by a bus. All the little towns you stop at, all the landscape you get to see. For someone who has never owned her own car, this is the next best thing.