Content Warning: Mention of death and allusions to mental health complications. You are a writer. Yes, you. I know you don’t think you are, but you are.
Perhaps you already knew you were a writer. Maybe you were briefly questioning yourself. Or...there’s a chance, a slim chance, that you never felt like a “real writer.”
My name is Alyceson-Grace Eke, I have a published book on Amazon, I have a writing Instagram (@a_writer_to_remember), I have writing connections, and I still don’t feel like a “real writer.” Being a writer is not about your accolades or your social media presence; it’s about the spirit of your work. Do you write? Do you have a passion for writing? Do you want to get better at writing? Yes? Then you’re a writer.
Growing up, I considered myself a writer without a second thought; I wrote a book on the Solar System in the 1st grade. I spent playtime with my dad creating sports magazines. I was the author in my friend groups. Everyone looked up to me for how to write and, more importantly, inspire. My low points in life were my high points in writing. Most times, even if my writing grew sparse due to mental fatigue, the words I wrote were powerful to my audience. They had substance. Soul. My writing had a heart. Being a writer was, quite literally, my identity. I wrote life into new forms of the human spirit - a cocky notion but a reflection of the confidence that buttressed me for years. All I wanted to do was learn how to be a good writer. I didn’t care about the other things; I just wanted to be better. I never thought I was perfect; I just thought I was the writer. The symbol of justice for the voiceless. The representation many were missing. Writing was to be my legacy. It got me in trouble, and it got me out. Writing damaged my relationships, and later rekindled them. Writing spared me from an isolated demise and lifted me into a new realm of living.
Then 2018 hit.
I always shared the fervor for writing with my dad. Even if some of his actions in life don’t match my personal ideals, my dad’s writing is something I could always follow. It is everlasting to me. I wouldn’t have loved writing as much as I did without him. And...there he was, August 16th, 2018, unexpectedly rendered a stiff, bereft of life, and dead on the bedroom floor. Even now, whenever you read this, such a sullen crater in my being continues to expand. My father died and my passion died with him. My identity - being a writer - died as well. I published a book four months after his death. I activated my writing Instagram more frequently after that. I made connections in 2019. All without the spark that resided in me since the 1st grade. The confidence and arrogance, the comfort and ease, the faith that the writer’s block was going to pass...vacuumed out of me. 13 years of fire extinguished. We all know of physical deaths, yes, but a personal spiritual death that mutates you into a meatless skeleton with cold sunken eyes and cardiac arrest complete with heartbeats is rarely anticipated. Some call it depression.
Here we are now: Embers cooling, a few occasional glows from an old temporary thought, only a thin trail of smoke remaining. I don’t feel like a writer. I feel like I have no identity. I feel like I don’t even exist. And yet, I am still a writer. I don’t believe it myself, but I am a writer. I am still me, just numb to life’s stimulants. No matter your struggle in life, I promise you, you are still a writer. And if not to yourself, then you are a writer to me.
You have dreams and ambitions, even when your brain grows exhausted. Remember? Fingers dancing feverishly on the keyboard, the cogs in the brain turning as the pistols push and pull, eyes bright and powerfully wide. The euphoria, the geysers of creativity erupting with each new idea. Thoughts, ideas, lessons, adventures, sensations. Tell the world what you see and what you want them to see. Tell the universe that it has a competitor in your spirit. Those things are part of being a writer.
But you know what else is part of being a writer? Fingers being still. Indecisiveness. The fear of stepping into the world you get to create. Hands that tremble in frustration, asking “Why can’t we do this?” A brain that fights the heart in a civil war. Eyes dimming in defeat as they face a blank white screen. Those things are part of being a writer.
Nothing good comes easy. I know it’s cliche, but it's the truth. I can’t think of anything I’ve ever earned that didn’t have ups and downs along the way that skinned my knees and tore apart my elbows. I know I’m in a downward spiral that is a daily dizzy spell. I am still a writer. I want you to understand that you are a writer, even if you don’t feel that way. I want you to know that your journey to being a better writer is valid, no matter how many breaks or how many roadblocks you face.
I’ve always been so proud of Brittney for not only her books, Forsaken and Fifty Days, but her profile as a person. Not just a writer, a person. She and I attend the same university, and she is a well known face in the writing world. I love how she’s been humble and popular simultaneously. She relaxes, empowers, and energizes. I love seeing pictures of her and her boyfriend, or her coffee and cats, and all the random things that go into who she is. Seeing a writer be a human being is beautiful.
I’ll admit, though, I once looked at my own progress in comparison and felt behind, even inadequate. Don’t compare yourself to others, please. No two stories are meant to be the same. Anyway, I saw all my faults in a sobering moment of self-awareness. I had four different stories with finished first-drafts just waiting to be edited and made anew, and my only published book was dastardly imperfect. I got rejected by student publications and post-grad professional ones. I never found a writing club. I still don’t read enough. My friends don’t mull over writing as I do. My writing soulmate - over half a decade strong - is about to be deployed (U.S. Army). My boyfriend - we’ve been close for over a year - doesn’t have the time or interest in writing, and he refuses to be in pictures, even cute corny ones with me. My Instagram is currently small and unpopular. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t have cats. I had a panic attack when I tried to get back into yoga. Worst of all, the only writing of mine that anyone was even remotely interested in was my fanfiction on Wattpad from my senior year of high school.
I was ashamed of myself.
All I could think was, I’m a failure. I am no writer. I am just a lazy amateur who can’t get over herself and hold herself to a standard. I’m all alone, and my hands hate me, too. This is not true at all. We are not failures; the writing journey will be different for each person. We are writers; we write and we love what we do. We are not lazy. We may be amateurs, but we are amateurs who want to get better and learn. We have standards, otherwise, we wouldn’t be disappointed in ourselves. You are not alone. We are not alone.
As of now, I am proud to be writing on Wattpad again. Seeing the new comments and votes on my fanfiction has started to trigger some warm lights in my eyes. A new story is coming to fruition in my fingertips, and even if it isn’t an official book, I am allowing myself to fall in love and be just as proud. A book baby is as a book baby will be. I try to read my Redwall books to lift up my spirits, and I am working on journaling and restarting my old projects. I am starting to give myself hope again. Even though the world may flare its nose as my regression from official publication to universally available Wattpad presence, I do not care anymore. This is my story, and I stand by it. In my world, this is the most effort I can give, and this is where it must go. I am proud of myself. I am working on a path to recovery.
We are already writers. Each day, we take one more step towards being the writers we aspire to be.
I believe in you. I can’t wait to see what you do. Heal well, dearest.
Alyceson-Grace Eke is a young adult college writer from Carrollton. She specializes in observational writing and slice-of-life fiction. The author of Constellations (Vol. 1), Alyceson-Grace channels her emotional and anecdotal resources to produce her strongest works. The ultimate purpose of her writing is to serve as not only a public outlet but to be a “point of light,” one of her professional phrases, to others and show that people that relate to her can be writers and even star in writing roles that weren’t always written for the unheard voice. You can find her Amazon Author Page and Books here. Be sure to visit her personal blog at fireanddiamonds.wordpress.com or her Instagram @a_writer_to_remember