The road to Raising the Bottom has been a long and twisted path that spans over twenty-three years.
I started writing in 1994, shortly after I graduated from nursing school. I finished my first novel in 1997, and went on to write three more. I never did much to promote those novels. I put a few of them up on Amazon, and lo and behold, I received many great reviews. I know I can tell a story, but it was always the writing part where I harbored insecurity, and perhaps because of that insecurity, I never called myself a writer.
It wasn’t until I was well into my fourth book that I started to question my hesitancy. Why did I waver, and not fully embrace the notion that I was a writer? After all, it was a piece of my identity. I knew I deserved the title because for some reason or other I felt driven to write. Perhaps I had come to think that in order to be a legitimate writer I had to have commercial success. Perhaps I looked for validation in the form of a check in order to confirm that my writing was more than a hobby. I bought into the worldly notion that only highly paid writers could call themselves a writer. It’s only been since I’ve finished my fifth book, Raising the Bottom; Making Mind Choices in a Drinking Culture, that I’ve finally brushed that particular demon off my back, and decided that yes, I am a writer.
If writer’s write, then anyone who has ever forgone an evening out with friends and loved ones so they could stay home and write, is a writer. Anyone who has sacrificed anything at all so they could stay put and write should be enough to assume the title; anyone who has actually tackled the arduous process of wading through and completing a manuscript, whether it be a short story, a play, a novel or any other sort of book, are all undeniably, writers. There is no mystique to the writing life that’s privy to the chosen few.
Years ago I stumbled over an article where the writer talked about finding her voice. She believed it took writers five books to hit the right note. I’m not sure I agree with her; we can all name at least one author who published their first book only to see it soar to the top of all of the best seller lists. But, to be impartial, we never find out who long and how often that writer wrote and was rejected along the way. What torment did they have to go through before they hit their stride and knocked it out of the park?
Suffice to say that I am now comfortable with calling myself a writer. After five books and many hours in the chair, I deserve to honor myself, and my craft, and call myself a writer. It’s something that I do. It’s a part of who I am. Regardless of how things shake out, no one can deny me, including myself, that I am a writer!