I have read four different articles this week on different subjects and from variant sources that have included the sentence, “If you want to be a writer, call yourself a writer.” The fourth time I read it, in this article from Andrew Peterson, I felt like yelling, “Enough already! Quit telling me what I should call myself!” I took a few days to mull over why I was so frustrated with this advice. I understand the principle of it. I even agree that thinking of yourself as a writer makes you take your writing more seriously, makes you schedule time to write, makes you pursue serious writing opportunities. So why was I so upset at the advice? Why was I kicking against the goads of advice that could help me make my way toward my stated goal?
I went through a lot of self examination on this one, because at first I really believed it was self sabotage; but the answer came to me in a bolt of understanding when I asked myself the question, “So if I don’t call myself a writer, what am I?” I was not asking this in the sense of identity. I am in Christ. That is my identity. I was also not asking this in terms of life calling, because my ultimate life calling is to be a helpmeet to my husband. Those two things are long term; the first is eternal and the second is until death does us part. In seeking to answer, “What am I?” I was really asking, “What am I now?” I have been a realtor for a season. I have been a teacher for a season. If I don’t want to call myself a writer in this season of my life, what am I?
I don’t want to call myself a writer at the moment. I am realizing that this season of my whole energy and attention being consumed with the care and nurture of small children is a short one and I don’t want to let go of that title before I have to. Right now, everything else gets tucked into the empty minutes around being a mama, and as exhausting and sometimes frustrating as it can be, I am okay with that. In five years my children will be capable of going to school, or spending a night at a friend’s house, or even spending a week at camp without me. Yes, I will still be their mother, and I will still be charged with their nurture in the faith and their love and care and raising up and correcting in righteousness, but I’ll have some freedom to do the things that writers do, like take three hours each week just to write, or hole up in a cabin somewhere for a weekend, just to write. In five years, maybe I can call myself a mama and a writer. For now, I’m content to be a mother – who sometimes writes.