Courtesy floating robes
Courtesy Floating Robes

A question that I’ve seen asked of those in my profession is, “How do you know if you’re a writer?”

To answer, let me give you a real-life example of what it feels like.

The last few days have been, for me, alternating exercises in fatigue and frustration. Difficulties I’ve been dealing with for weeks are so tantalizingly close to resolving themselves, and I find myself both wanting to push harder to get the results I’m after and holding back for fear of being a selfish prick. Add the dayjob workload and maintaining things around the apartment, and you get a recipe for wanting to do exactly zero when you finally have a little time to yourself.

This is incredibly frustrating to me because I know that should be my time to write.

Disapproving voices would tell me to write anyway, regardless of how tired or worn out or seethingly furious I might feel. I know. I’m one of those voices. I need to bite that bullet, make more coffee or chai, put on good tunes that shut out the world, and plunge into the word mines. There’s no other way they’re going to get written. It’s down to me, no compromises, no excuses. If I write, I write; if I don’t, I fail.

The gnawing, growling, nigh-constant feeling of irritation at my own inability to maintain high energy levels is how I know I’m a writer. If I cared less about it, if I didn’t have faith in my abilities, I’d cut the stressor from my life and stop worrying about it. But I can’t. I won’t. The need to tell stories and give people the gift of escape to another world, other lives, a new experience or even just some distraction from what’s in front of them is too great to be ignored, set aside, or discarded. The spirit is willing, and angry, and full of notions and dreams. The flesh is weak, and flabbier than I’d like, and smells funny if I don’t bathe often enough.

I’m going to try and turn this around. I can’t be on the bad end of bullshit forever. I’m sharpening my knives and inking my pens.

You can knock me down, sure.

But there’s no way in hell I’m staying down.