You may be looking at this page and wondering why we’ve claimed a little spot for ourselves. Why not just share our writing on the same page as the other pieces we’re bringing you? After all, we’re all writers here, right?
If I tried to summarize it in one word, I’d probably say, “Accountability.” That would be oversimplifying things, and if anything, I am prone to exactly the opposite of that. But accountability is definitely a big part of it.
Adam and I began our work together as student and teacher. (If you want to know what being his student is like, I’m more than happy to tell you about my experience.) Writing was hard work then, and when things are difficult, most of us are inclined to find reasons for avoiding them. I wanted to write, and I would try to write, but I also avoided the work or skipped it when it was just too hard. Then Adam introduced me to a writing group and that accountability helped me develop a habit where I was writing every day. From there, I had the opportunity to collaborate on a project Adam was already involved in, a podcast called The Ivory Tower Boiler Room. I ended up building a companion-website for the podcast, and Adam’s role on the project shifted to focusing more on editing and writing. More writing and more editing are wonderful, but we also both realized that we were putting aside our other projects… our personal stuff; poems, short stories, novels were all abandoned while our writing time and our energy was focused on the content we were generating for that project. All the writing helped me grow as a writer, but it also meant that there just wasn’t anything left for the stuff that brought me to writing in the first place.
And that’s just it–we’re writers first; that’s what led us to work together in the first place, and for me, if I’m only writing the work-things, I’m not being true to myself. When I lose that authenticity, that ability to tell my truth, my writing suffers. It becomes harder to write anything at all. The pieces I’m writing for work become less honest, less real, and become things I’m just not as interested in sharing. I just end up producing work that I think isn’t the best it can be.
Which brings us back to accountability. I need this space. We need this space, not only to share our work, but to help maintain balance between the writing we’re doing here and the work we’re creating elsewhere. Part of becoming the writer I want to become means developing good writing habits–for me, that means writing (almost) every day, it means reading a lot, it means talking about my writing, and right now, it also means producing a specific amount of content on a regular basis. Claiming this space gives me a specific task–to produce the agreed upon amount of content each week for this space, and to know that when I’ve done that, the rest of the time I spend writing is for all of the other things–the unfinished poems, the short stories that I don’t think I’ll ever finish but that I’m writing because I’m trying to learn how to write a good short story, the piece of writing I’ll never show anyone else but that needs to be written as a way to give myself permission to write something else, or something that has no identifiable purpose other than “it’s in my head.”
I write because I’m a writer. I write in this space because I’m a student who is still learning how to find balance between all the different things that being a writer means, and this is my laboratory. If my writing becomes too unbalanced, if there’s too much focus on one kind, one part, one task, it becomes too easy to find reasons not to write. And as a writer who found a lot of reasons not to write for a very long time, I can’t do that to myself again. I worked too hard for the confidence to be able to call myself a writer to lose that.
And if you’re reading this because you, too, love writing, I hope that some of the pieces we share here, and on the Writers on Writing page help you become the writer you want to be. I hope you find your balance.