According to the dictionary, it is: “The activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.” That's to any regular person. But we're not average people. We're different. We're weird. We're downright crazy. We are writers.
So what is it to us? What is it that takes this act of “marking coherent words and composing text” and turns it into our every breathing moment?
I've been a writer for almost four years now. The 'experienced' writers say that you are a writer the moment you decide to try your hand at this text composing. So I'm counting that. Yet despite the thousands of hours I have spent reading books, surfing the net, and writing, I have found that one of the hardest things to explain is just what writing is.
It's taken a great deal of effort, but I have managed to mark words coherent enough to explain what writing is to me.
What is writing?
It's a force. It's a feeling that sweeps over you, usually at the oddest moments, like in the shower or while driving on the highway. It's a sentence, a theme, an idea, something that makes your heart leap, consumes your soul, and you run it through your head like a mantra until you can find paper and a pen. It doesn't stop even after you've written it down. It never ends.
It's a way of life. It's a piece of you that you can't go one day without. In the rare cases you do skip a day, the next morning you rush back to the computer, open your files, stare at your manuscript, and it takes everything in you to keep from exclaiming, "There you are! I've missed you!".
It's an obsession. It's a magnet that keeps you staring at the screen for hours at a time. You don't notice that you've skipped a meal, or that it's 1 in the morning. You just write. Then some days that magnet reverses, and you feel repelled from it. It takes every ounce of strength you have to return to that keyboard, and you have to physically force yourself to type.
It's a part of you. It runs through your veins and interweaves into your mind and your soul, defines your moods and your reactions. You become the characters of your story. Someone will ask you what's wrong, and you have no idea how to explain why you're crying, laughing, or yelling at a notebook. Or why you're having a perfectly pleasant conversation with yourself.
It's a blessing. It's a gift from God. He looked at the billions of people in the world all with varying degrees of experience, and He handed me this story that I am writing. Me, the one who hated English all 12 grades of school. Me, who had zero experience, and had never considered writing anything before. It didn't matter. He knew I could do it, and He knows I'll finish what He started, even when I don't believe it.
He does it for all of us. You have a story. You wouldn't be here if you didn't. It's God who gave you this unnatural obsession with marking coherent words on paper (even when they don't seem so coherent).