“I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.” -Anaïs Nin
I started a blog in 2009 because I had to. That was how it felt at the time, anyway: I’d just seen the movie Julie and Julia, in which the main character blogs her way through Julia Childs’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Though complex recipes didn’t interest me in the slightest, writing for pleasure was something I hadn’t done in years, and my blog was born.
The blog was an escape from my job, where I never felt like I could truly be myself. My buttoned-up professional life left me feeling like a fraud: although I had a career that was good on paper, it never felt like a good fit, nor did it ever feel like a good use of my talents. For years, I faithfully adhered to the futile notion that if I just kept pretending hard enough, satisfaction with work would eventually follow.
When I made the decision to leave the corporate world and strike out on my own, it was partially out of necessity. Years of working in human resources taught me about resume bots and recruiting practices: if I wanted to find a job elsewhere as a copywriter or content manager, it was going to prove nigh on impossible if I’d never held a position with that specific title. So I decided to strike out on my own: to write on my terms, and work for the people I want to work for. Purpose-driven work is eclipsing pay as the number-one factor that people look for in an employer, and the exploding gig economy is a reflection of this phenomenon.
The truth is, everybody is a writer. We all express ourselves through writing every day: through text messages, e-mails, and Instagram captions. Writing is a skill that each of us can get better at through practice and through reading lots of different kinds of writing. Reading, thinking, learning, and writing are all part of a continual process that we all participate in on some level, and it’s a skill that everyone can improve upon.
I’m a writer because it’s who I am. I write because I have to; not to fulfill any external expectation or because someone told me to. And that’s how I know I may have found my calling.