December 10, 2018

Are You for Real?

By Tonya Calvert 

Sometimes, I ask myself, “Are you for real?” Not in that, “aww, Mom… are you for real?” annoyed teenager kind of way. And not in a profound nursery magic, Velveteen Rabbit kind of way either. It’s more like a “just who do you think you are anyway?” sort of way. It’s a subtle voice saying, “those other writers are real, you’re just a wanna be.”

I say I am an aspiring writer. I say writing is a hobby, just in case someone might think I am getting too big for my britches. The truth is if you write, you are a writer. This was beautifully said by Pulitzer prize winning author and professor of writing, Junot Diaz. “A writer is a writer, not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer, because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”

But don’t real writers have 10,000 followers on Twitter? Don’t real writers have big publishing deals? Don’t real writers write all day, in coffee shops? Don’t real writers get paid? Some do, but you are writer when you write. Period. Epictetus said it well, “If you wish to be a writer, write.”

But I don’t feel real. That’s okay. Keep writing. “It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who must be carefully kept” (Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit).

So, meanwhile how does a writer silence that voice? Van Gogh said, “If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter, then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced.” So, if you hear that voice that says you are not a real writer, by all means write…and that voice will be silenced, for real.
Tonya Calvert finds inspiration all around her, especially on nature walks and at the Florida coast. She has a BS from Columbus State University and a JD from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. Saylor on the Seashore(Clearfork Publishing 2017) is her first book. Her second children’s book, The Origami Elephant (Clearfork Publishing) will be released fall of 2018. She is married to her high school sweetheart. They live a blessed life in the Deep South with their three boys.

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