I attended a class at the 2007 LDS Storymakers Conference presented by Tristi Pinkston. I can't recall the name of the class, or the synopsis of the material it covered, but I will never forget the experience of that one hour with Tristi, because it held for me the 'wow' factor of that event. You know - the one opportunity you walk away from saying, "Wow - if nothing else had gone right, that moment made this whole experience worthwhile."
I remember Tristi reflecting on the pull we feel to writing, and tying it to our eternal nature. She suggested something I'd never really considered before: that we were probably writing long before we came to Earth; that we were developing these interests and talents as we prepared for mortality. Quite possibly we sat in on lessons with Shakespeare. Perhaps we listened to a panel by Austen and Dickens.
The point, speculation aside, is that life is just a step in our eternal progression. We didn't just pop into existence and decide to string words into stories.
When she made that point, I felt an instant connection to the idea. Yes. I was a writer before I was born. More importantly, I am a writer now.
Sometimes I think we forget or undermine the importance of that little idea. We think, "I'm not a writer because I'm not published," or "I'm not a writer, because I'm still learning. Yesterday, my six-year-old daughter reinforced the concept.
She announced she was going to write a book, demanded some paper and disappeared for almost half-an-hour. When she returned, she handed me a fully illustrated short story anecdote of her experience with the chicken pox this past spring.
I read it aloud, gave her a hug and said, "Sweetie, you're a writer!"
She gave me one of those 'teenage' looks and said, "Yes mom, I know."
From this experience I learned some very important lessons:
1. If you want to write a story, sit down and do it. She had an idea, took the initiative and finished the project.
2. If you believe you are a writer, you are a writer. Nobody else's criteria, accomplishments or understanding matters. More importantly, if you are writing, you are a writer.
So say it with me: "I am a writer."
Now close your browser and get to work. (But don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the next great MMW post!)