This past weekend my family surprised me with flowers and a cake. There wasn't any iced inscription on it that said, "Happy Birthday," or some other celebratory salutation most would expect on a cake. Instead, as my grandchildren held it in front of me with a lone candle, was the word, "Writer,"... plain and simple in blue icing.
My heart swelled. Joyous tears filled my eyes. So often we writers feel others, even those closest to us, aren't aware how long and hard we toil at our craft. Sometimes we assume they don't know the behind the scenes work ethics we have, the sweat and tears we pour into our work, the disappointments we have faced, and the tenacity it takes to write one poem, article, story, novel, podcast, screenplay, etc. And sometimes because others don't acknowledge our efforts with bells and whistles, we wrongly assume they aren't as excited about what we accomplished, or simply think that being a writer is no big deal. But this past weekend my family showed me that it was, a big deal. They applauded me for this arduous writing journey I have been on for so many years, one that is still in progress.
My husband acknowledged my beginning journey, when I typed, one peck at a time on the Royal manual typewriter he gifted me with when he saw how serious I was about writing, and how I used to type through the wee hours of the morning sure that I would never give up on my dream but unsure of whom would want to read my words. My adult children acknowledged my middle writing days when they saw me writing after getting home from work, after dinner, after checking homework, after they snuck out of their rooms at night to get another glass of water, and seeing me at my desk/office in our Livingroom writing. And my grandchildren acknowledged that from the time they were old enough to remember, I was always putting pen to paper or sitting at my computer writing in between loving on them.
Writer...this is our profession, so full of passion, love and pain, letdown and excitement, and everything in between. But it is something we can never stop doing, even if we tried.
Writer...sometimes it comes with a cost. Sometimes we give more to our writing than our family, and hope and pray they don't suffer because we chose one over the other if only for a little while.
Oh how thankful I am to have people in my life that have never pointed a finger at me and made me feel guilty for my love affair with writing even when I was feeling guilty myself. How thankful I am to have loved ones who understand the big picture, who were/are there from the beginning, the middle, and will be there until the end.
As a writer, I'm sure you have those kind of loved ones and people in your life too. Even if they don't surprise you with a cake, they acknowledge you as a writer in other ways. Maybe your spouse brings you a mug of tea and makes sure no one disturbs you when you're knee deep in a writing project, or an adult child posts updates about your writing life on Facebook or Instagram, or you overhear a younger child bragging to his or her friends that, "My Mom is a writer." Or maybe you are acknowledged through a smile or an encouraging word that gives you a second wind that helps you become more productive. These are the people who see you, who applaud you, who are proud of you even if they don't say it often. Some have been there for your beginning writing journey, some have entered your life in the middle of your writing journey, and most will be there until the end, acknowledging you as "Writer." Plain and simple.