Post-Collegeville: am I a writer?

So Collegeville happened, and it was wonderful–one of the richest experiences of my life. I don’t have time to get into all of that at the moment, but one of the decisions I made at Collegeville was to go ahead and go public with this blog, which has been a private writing lab for me for a couple of years. I still haven’t decided whether to go ahead and publish all of the posts that I’ve written in that time, and frankly, some should probably never see the light of day. But when I went to the blog today to act on that decision, I realized that several months ago I had already posted something publicly. (The mind is going, to be sure, but in my defense, it’s been a whirlwind summer.)

That brief article was posted in early April, a short time after I received my invitation to Collegeville, and a short time before I forgot all about having posted it, apparently. At the time we were in the thick of preparations for our trip to Spain to walk the Camino Inglés, one of the shorter routes of the Camino de Santiago, and that trip happened in early May. (More about that another time.)

Re-reading that initial post immediately brought to mind the first evening group discussion we had with our writing coach, Michael N. MacGregor, Our main topic of discussion was the very thing I had posted about in April. (Even that did not refresh my memory of having written it.)

I went to Collegeville with a bit of trepidation, because I had done just a tiny bit of Google-stalking of my Collegeville group-mates, and came away somewhat intimidated by their accomplishments and brilliance. I was pretty much convinced that I would probably be the only person who still struggled with the question of validity as a writer–several of them had already published books, and some of them had done it more than once.

But in the first group discussion of our week together, I learned that I was not alone, and that even some of those who had written and published books or articles in national magazines or other venues still wrestled with the question, “Am I a writer?” Guided by our coach, we explored our hesitance to self-identify as writers and discovered that (a) we were not alone in this, and (b) the answer was obvious.

After we had kicked the topic around for a bit, one of my colleagues commented that she had read or heard somewhere that the only people who ever ask this question are writers.

Boom. I am a writer.

I’ll undoubtedly share more Collegeville stories and reflections later.

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