Salon Saturday

Becoming a Writer

I began the year with the intention of writing for at least five minutes every day. I actually started putting in my time before January 1st because I like to build up some momentum to propel into the new year. I am happy to report that I have indeed written for at least five minutes every single day this year. Usually I end up writing for much longer than that. But some days it is only five minutes, Part of me thinks what difference can five lousy minutes make. I don’t always make huge progress on my story. I don’t always learn something new. But showing up for those five minutes keeps me connected and, more importantly, open to the story. To the characters. I find myself thinking about them throughout the day. Any snippets of conversation I hear become possible conversations in my story.

Ron Carlson once told the class I was in about a time when he decided he would write at least one sentence everyday for a month. He started off great, usually writing more than one sentence but certainly meeting his daily goal. Then he had a busy day. A long day. He found himself exhausted and in bed when he realized he hadn’t written that sentence for the day. He says he became a writer in that moment. In that moment when he hauled himself out of bed, went down to his computer, turned it on and wrote that sentence. I had such a day myself. It had been a busy day. An exhausting day and I thought I’d catch up on my sleep by going to bed early. I started to doze off when it hit me. I hadn’t put in my five minutes. Part of me was like, “So what? What’s five minutes?”  Then I remembered Ron’s story and I turned on the light, pulled the notebook out of my drawer and wrote for five minutes. I don’t remember what Iwrote or if I ended up using it. But I do remember that I did it. That I got up out of bed and wrote. I showed up. I remember that as the moment that I became a writer.

How about you? Is there a moment you remember when you became a writer? Do you think such a moment even exists? If it hasn’t happened yet, what do you imagine it would look like?  Feel like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or a link to your blog.

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