Its something of a debate, or more of a discussible idea, and one which I’ve churned over with numerous people most of all with my long suffering housemate. Of all the people I’ve discussed this with they are always unsure of which is the right way but live by a definitive nonetheless. Its a query that has likely long plagued many of us, especially those who are in pursuit of and or trying to realise their dreams. It is that of do I talk and tell people of my aspirations and say I am what I dream of being or do I just keep my mouth shut and do it and make it and then they’ll all know.
I had long put myself in that latter camp of silently plugging away, of keeping my head down and trying to produce work. In the hopes that one day it would be made or published and I would have that esteemed title of writer thrust upon me. A title I so desperately craved, I wanted it, needed it as if in someway to quantify my pursuit, my dream. Yet all the while I was writing I was a writer but just didn’t consider myself one. I needed the outside world to recognise and consider me as such before I could consider myself to be one. I was so defiant in ensuring that I didn’t self label myself I would when asked such an innocent question as, “Are you writing anything new?” I would forever respond in the ambiguous, “Oh I’m working through a few ideas and thoughts but we’ll see”. I was so afraid of calling myself a writer that I wouldn’t even acknowledge or entertain the idea that I was writing. I was always just cooking something up, thinking it through, working on stuff never writing. It would have been like asking a track athlete how their training or race went but having them not even acknowledge that they had ran or were even part of the race. I always felt like the label had to come from somewhere, it had to be given to me by some respectable authority and so my love, my dream lived in this weird limbo state of existence and non-existence. Everyone knew I wrote and that I wanted to be a writer but I couldn’t let on that was the case until I was one.
These days though and a little before I started this blog I began to own the title. To this day I have not yet had any form of representation or anything published or made in any sense of the word. Yet I began to tell everyone I was a writer and talk to them about what I was working on. All of sudden it felt like all my hours hunched over notebooks and keyboards had in a way become legitimised but it also added a very real pressure. As now when people asked about projects I couldn’t get away with the elusive answers as I had used before and when I came up empty handed to their questioning I would feel a real urge and a drive to get back to my notepads and keyboard in order to correct this from ever happening again. It was also incredible to feel peoples support, to hear their ideas and thoughts on my projects or even just to say; that sounds cool. Fans and supporters are all around us, there are so many unsuspecting people in your life championing you right now, willing you to do your best. Just allowing them into a little bit of your world, to be a hand on the way to your dream no matter how small is, I know a scary prospect but it is one I have found undying thanks for. To know people are genuinely interested is a strange but wonderful feeling.
Now you may be wondering why there is any dispute between the doing and the saying when one clearly seems more beneficial. Well the trouble with talk is it can just be talk or talk can become talk and talk and talk. It’s truly so much easier once you’ve broken the barrier to just talk about this project or that project, to feed off of peoples energies, their interest becomes qualification enough for just an idea being good enough. It can become quite intoxicating, praise for an idea is easy, seeing through an idea is something else. Which is a trap I fell into for a significant stretch. I talked and I talked but made no active attempts to turn this idea or that idea into anything more than it already was. I bounced from one to the next convincing myself I would write one, I would. I had become the very thing I feared a “writer”.
It was only upon recognition of what I had become did I make that active leap to truly become it, which is in part what drove me to this blog, to turn all that absent chatter into something, I turned to the doing. I needed to become what I didn’t want in order to renew my drive, it certainly isn’t a pattern I’m keen to repeat but it was an important lesson to learn. I still call myself a writer and talk about my projects openly for one simply reason; because that is what I want to be. It is like the old adage goes, dress for the job you want not the one you have. The same I feel very much goes for personal labels and life ambitions if you want to be an athlete say your an athlete even if you’re on a building site six days a week. If you stare at spreadsheets all day but you want to be a photographer start calling yourself one. Your not saying you’re a professional but you are likely inviting interest and criticism and challenge to your statements. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone but you’ll be surprised how much people will spur you on. This is why the debate rages which path is more beneficial is it a mix of the two. It is hard to say annoyingly you just have to feel your way through it but what I will say is opening yourself up to people as always is a hell of a leap but it’s one that could take you to what you’ve always dreamed of and maybe even further than you ever could have imagined.