I remember when I first started running how I would giggle when a runner waved at me on their way by. That wave told me they thought I was a fellow runner. At the time I didn’t feel like a runner. My first run in University was one minute long. When that minute was up I stopped to walk for a minute then I repeated that process ten times. You might be able to see why I didn’t consider myself a runner. When another runner gave me ‘the nod’ I could only think about how I had fooled them into thinking I was a runner.
It took 10 weeks of running three times a week before I considered myself a running. That was how long it took before I could run for 10 minutes without stopping. I don’t know why ten minutes was the mark that make me feel like a runner. For others they don’t feel like a ‘real’ runner until they run their first race or until they run 5k without stopping. Looking back on it I have realized those runners giving me ‘the nod’ were right. I was a runner. I went out with the intention to run and I followed through. Even if each of my runs was only 10 minutes.
It is harder for me to pinpoint the day I decided I was a writer. I remember that even after winning NaNoWriMo for the first time I wasn’t sure I could call myself a writer. I had just written 50,000 in a single month, but I still felt awkward claiming to be a writer. For a long time I thought that because I didn’t shared my writing it wasn’t valuable. Because it was only practice it wasn’t something worth mentioning. Or maybe because it wasn’t published I felt I couldn’t back up my claim of being a writer.
These days it’s easy to call myself a writer. I’ve won NaNo every year I’ve entered. I’ve started sharing my writing with friends. I let my mother(!) read one of my more polished novels. Earlier this year I entered one of my novels into a local writing competition. I know that a career as a writer would be something I would enjoy and feel proud of. In the end though none of those things are what make me a writer. I am a writer because I enjoy writing and because whenever possible I spend time writing. I am a writer because I feel like a writer and because even if I never share another word I have written it remains an important part of who I am.
When did you first feel like a writer? Did you struggle to call yourself a writer?