“You don’t need motivation to keep writing if you’re a real writer. You just do it because you aren’t complete if you don’t.” -Terry Brooks

I read that quote today and wondered exactly what it meant to me. Did I think it was true? Yes, definitely. Did I think that I was the real writer embodied therein? Ah, now that is the question.

My classical vocal teacher in college sat me down in lessons one day when she saw how much I was stressing about my decision to be a Commercial Music major. “What do you love doing more than anything else in the world?” she asked me. “What is your favorite thing to do in life? What is your passion?” I remember being scared my it because it wasn’t an easy question to answer. I finally realized it was difficult to answer because there wasn’t one answer. There were two.

Music and writing exist in tandem in my life, and I can’t imagine my life being happy or fulfilling without either of them. Every time I learn something new in my music classes, I feel full to bursting and I can’t sleep until I share it with someone (most often my long-suffering boyfriend; I’m sorry, sweetheart). Every time a plot bug bites me, I will stay up until 4am just trying to flush it out of my body and onto paper. They’re both strange feelings, and I feel them so intently and emotionally sometimes that it scares me.

But does that make me a real writer? Does it make me a real musician? If I sat down and said “No, I’m going to put these aside,” would I be all right? Or would life be as miserable as I think it is?

Another quote today that got me thinking:

“Writers are the ultimate fakers. We sit there looking clueless and innocent, staring into space, doodling absently in our notebooks, and all the while we’re planning multiple murders, robberies, the overthrow of modern society. There’s things clicking and turning and being generally strange in our heads. It may look like we’re carrying on a conversation with you, but the odds are that as we’re answering your questions and ordering our lunch, in our minds someone has just shown up with a note that says: Actually the mysterious man with the gimpy leg is Alonso’s half-brother, which would explain why Lucille got so freaky when she saw him, as she thought she had accidentally smothered him years ago when he was thirteen and came after her with a pair of garden shears because of the chemical imbalance.” – D. T. Kastn

I miss that. I miss carrying a notebook with me to every function, filling it with ideas and pages upon pages of fiction until I sat there grinning as I filled the final lines along the back cover. But I think most of all I miss having people to experience that joy with.

National Novel Writing Month gave me that. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people doing something crazy like writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days not because we were forced to, but because we wanted to. It was a support group. It was a family. Every time you reached a milestone, you were surrounded by people who squealed, high fived you, and hugged you until you were blue in the face. Every single one of your accomplishments was celebrated because they understood. I miss that.

These 700 or so words are just me contemplating what I need to do next. Music is my major, but it isn’t the only part of my life. The view where I sit now that I’m not writing as much is rather gray. Something has to change. I have to find that support group again. I have to find that confidence that I used to have. But, upon everything else, I have to write…because if I don’t, I’m going to lose my mind, and that’s not pretty for anyone around me.

Am I a real writer? I suppose we’ll find out very soon.