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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Guest Post: Dreams of Being by Todd Skaggs

Dreams of Being

Hello there, dear readers!  I’m not sure what you were expecting today, but your gracious host Violet Patterson has seen fit to let me bend your ear for a spell.  So, as this is a writer’s blog, let’s talk about being writers.  And if you’re a reader, this might give you insight into some of the insanity that helps us craft the tales for you to enjoy.

From an early age, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted to live a life where what I did mattered to someone. I found that I had a gift for words, or at least I thought I did.
That led me to thinking that I wanted to be a writer.

When asked the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” I would rotate my answer between one of three life choices:  Astronaut, rock star (or rap star), and writer.  

The dream of being an astronaut was shelved when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch in 1986.

The dream of being a rock star was realized and lived out for 6 days and 5 nights in August, 2008. That wild week is a story for another time.

That left only the dream of being a writer.

Being.

By getting used to answering the question by saying that I want to be a writer, I trained my brain to make it some kind of future thing. At the risk of conjuring images of Tibetan singing bowls and incense, the simple truth is that by keeping it in a future tense, I never fully prepared myself to actually be a writer.  It was always something that I wanted to be...someday.

Someday I’ll share my poems.  Someday I’ll work on that novel. Someday I’ll finish that novel. Someday I’ll be a best-selling author.

Someday.

The dreams of being a writer were always locked in the realm of someday.

I’m not going to lie...that’s a slow death once you actually realize who and what you are.

I have been writing since I was seven years old. My parents have boxes of my journals and notebooks.  I have a journal or notebook in every room of my apartment. And rarely in my life can I recall a time when I did not have ready access to pen and paper or some other means by which to chronicle the myriad plots and stories floating in my brain bucket.

These things made me think I could be a writer. High marks in my English and Creative Writing classes throughout my academic career solidified the thought.

But I was always stuck in someday.

The dream of being a writer had no traction. No action. I wrote, but I didn’t share. I didn’t put myself out there. And I certainly didn’t have any kind of accountability.  I had a blog, which I still maintain, as my personal outlet for the crazy thoughts in my head.

None of that mattered, though. As long as I kept telling people that I wanted to be a writer, or had dreams of being a writer, I would never make them come true.

In 2016 the universe (sorry, maybe you will need those Tibetan singing bowls after all), gave me a nudge.  In my path, in my life, I suddenly found friends who were published authors. I found writing groups where people had the same dream that I had.

That’s when the shift happened.

I stopped telling people that I wanted to be a writer.

And I started telling people that I was a writer.

The first step of unlocking all of my dreams of being this amazing, well loved, and world renowned author starting with a simple acknowledgement.

I am a writer.

I’m not going to tell you how to become a writer. There are hundreds of books that will tell you that. Most of them, boiled down, reduce to two simple practices.

To be a writer you must do the following two things, without fail.
Write.
Read.

And to this list, I would add a third thing.  To be a writer, you must write, and you must read. You must do both of those things in earnest. They must be done with intention. They are the key. They aren’t all you must do, though.

You must also believe.

Believe that the book is inside you, waiting for you to acknowledge it. Believe that you would write the words, even if nobody were there to read them.

Above all else, you must believe one thing and one thing alone: YOU ARE A WRITER.

The someday’s are gone from my life.

I have and continue to share my poetry.  I have a finished (first draft of a) novel.  I have several books in process. This year is the year I will be published. And I am living my life as a writer.

Someday I’ll look back at my life before now and wonder why it took me so long to figure it all out.

And it’ll make a hell of a story.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

-TS



About Todd Skaggs:
Side stepping societal norms of what makes a writer a writer, Todd has happily wandered down the path of writing for one simple reason; It’s cheaper than therapy and is still the single best way to exorcise the demons.
Living in Ohio and enjoying all four seasons in a single week, Todd works in the IT world by day and plays with words any chance he can. The hobby has evolved in to a serious pursuit and he has several releases on the rails for 2017.
You can connect with Todd online here:
Blog: blog.twistedzen.com
Facebook: /AndrewToddWrites

Twitter: @atskaggs71

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