I recently described myself to a (newer) friend as a writer. She – a very well-known blogger with a huge following and a book credit under her belt – looked at me suspiciously. She knows me as a Marketing Manager, an Event Planner, and as someone who employs the liberal use of curse words on Twitter. But writer? In her eyes, a "legitimate" writer herself, I was not.
At first my feelings were a little hurt, because this is always something I've considered myself to be. But within minutes, I realized that she – and others who only know me in this most recent incarnation of my life – don't see me that way. And frankly, they don't really have any reason to. It's been years since I've been published (save for Sarah Brown's amazing book, Cringe, and most recently, in Nick Douglas' book Twitter Wit), and even my posts on this site have become more sporadic, shifting much of my "writing" onto Twitter. Though this was a slow devolution, it's also one that I've been wishing to reverse. "Update my website" is perpetually on my To-Do list, and I've even tried to shift my thoughts from 140-characters back into real paragraph format. PARAGRAPHS, people. They still DO EXIST.
And so I've mentioned it to a few friends, noting that in my mental list of 2009 Resolutions (since I never got around to writing them down), "Begin freelance writing again" was near the top. Because it wasn't that I haven't been writing, as I write all of the copy for Digg, but I was afraid that I had lost the ability to write a post that didn't begin with "Hey everyone, Today we're excited to announce the launch of…". I was afraid I had lost my voice.
It's also not that writing is new for me; in Atlanta, I wrote two weekly columns for a local paper called The Sunday Paper, both in the shopping/fashion beat. I was a former freelance food editor for Citysearch, and even did a ton of corporate writing as well. But since I moved to San Francisco 4+ years ago, I have either been traveling too often or far too busy to pick up even one-off gigs. That, and I've been lazy. (Hey, I call a spade a spade.) I'd rather go out drinking with my friends than stay in writing to FUND going out drinking with my friends. But after a stark look at my finances – not to mention the fact that as with many things, writing is a skill requiring exercise, and without it, I was finding it difficult to put three logical words together – I decided it was time. Hell, it was overdue.
So by happenstance, a friend mentioned that one of the local SF sites was looking for a new tech writer. "Tech," I thought, "Now *THAT'S* something I have something to say about." And as it often is when things are meant to be, a few emails later, I was officially the new Tech blogger for SFWeekly.com. It's just a few posts a week, easily done after work or on the weekends since I'm still full-time here at Digg (and am elated that they're cool with me doing this!), so far it's been fun. (Check out a few of my first posts.)
So in my mental list of 2009 Resolutions, only 10 months in, I'm able to make my first (mental) checkmark. And maybe one day soon, when I tell someone I'm a writer, I'll know I'm justified in doing so.