Think You Know What You Wanna Be When You Grow Up? Guess Again!

Photo: Katelyn Woodburn

There’s a lot of debate surrounding whether you’re born a writer or you become one. There’s probably a lot of debate surrounding whether you’re born to do anything, or you simply become whatever it is you’re meant for. I haven’t actually participated in this kind of debate, but as a writer you can be sure I have my own ideas on the subject.

Before anything else, I’m a reader. When I was younger, if it had pages I probably put my hands on it and tried to read it. That meant a lot of boring books got tossed aside because oops… no 11-year-old girl wants to read biographies about political figures but hey. By reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, I learned a lot. I had new ideas, new things to talk about. My friends called me an encyclopedia – you need a story? Any idea? Maybe a topic? Dial me up and let me know. I’ll give you the page numbers and the information.

Better yet, I’ll rewrite it for you. Then you have to listen to two voices giving you a play by play of something you may or may not really have cared about in the first place. But it made me happy, and still does. So, Encyclopedia Rebecca continued on and with the passing of a very uneventful summer, I read upwards of 60 books. Oh, I counted. And yes, it is my claim to fame.

I thought that I had a clue what I wanted to do when I went to college. What I thought I knew became unknown territory and I evacuated the Psychology program with enough speed I think I was actually on fire. Well, then what? I’ve always liked language, and dabbled with a few European languages. Why not try international studies? That means you actually have to pack your bags and go to another country for a few months, apparently. I also learned that traveling at the time? It was a no go. Feeling pulled in a few directions, I somehow heard about a “self-design” degree program. I wasted no time in applying and creating my own degree which I graduated with. I have bad news.

It isn’t what I do, now.

So, that may be good or bad news in the long run but it’s followed by insightful tidbits, I promise. Pursuing something off the beaten path taught me more than I wanted to know about my perseverance and my durability. When I realized that maybe solving world peace and giving refuge to the immigrants of the Middle East probably wasn’t my course of professional development. This realization followed my completion of a few graduate courses in the same specialization.

Then my professor asked me why I wasn’t writing.

I’ve written countless stories about anything from talking cats to what I think is beyond our time on earth. Without realizing it, putting fingers to keys or pen to paper is what has always made my heart flutter. I loved writing papers more than any normal person should; here’s your sign (reference made to Bill Engvall here). When I saw my name in print beneath a title that an editor surely changed, I ran screaming down the hallway of my parent’s house and promptly slid a few feet, fell, and sat there with a sh*t-eating grin on my face.

So, I can’t really tell you if writers are born or made but all along I have known that words are important to me. And that I have something to say. What you have been trying to become is reaching for you, too. Here is your whisper of inspiration: if you feel like you have to move 500 miles away and become a yoga teacher, do it. You have to. If you love children and influencing them for good, why aren’t you teaching yet? Let go of what you think you have to do, and it will allow you to do what you have to.

With enough patience, effort, resolve, and determination, your name will appear beneath a headline an editor totally fixed for you too. Just put your foot in the stirrup and get on the horse. We all know what to do when we get up there.

Also, changing your LinkedIn profession will make you feel way more official. Trust me, I tested the theory.

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