Last summer, two things happened. Firstly, one of my all-time favourite childhood heroes, Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo, passed away. As a gamer and an enormous Nintendo fan, I mourn his death, and with me many others. Across various social media, one of Iwata’s most famous quotes was posted over and over again:
“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”
This quote got me thinking. We all apply different versions of ourselves towards the outside world. For example, we are students, employees, dog-lovers, gamers, artists, language-enthusiasts, procrastinators. All these versions of us have different functions in several situations. However, if we had to pick one word that had to define us, what would it be? In other words, who are we “in our hearts”?
After pondering for a while, I felt that I identified most with the word “writer”. I am a writer. I see the world around me and I think of how I want to put her into words, how I want to describe her mysterious but also ordinary ways. The things that I see, hear, and experience inspire endless streams of stories in my head. I am a writer.
However, the second occurrence I wanted to mention changed my view on this. This other event was as much as a facebook post from a very dear friend and classmate of mine, who is now studying abroad for a year.
In her post, she speaks of one of her first classes on writing, in which the lecturer started out with the words: “A writer writes.” – and that is true.
As my friend already said further on in her post, writing shouldn’t derive from some kind of divine inspiration, and having talent is not everything. A writer writes, exercises everyday.
Thus, I was thinking some more: I identify as a writer, but in all honesty: I’ve barely written anything over the past three years. A couple of poems, a few attempts on short stories, occasionally I submit some words to a long story that has been collecting dust in my files for years, and then of course the assignments and essays I have to hand in for school, but does that really count?
So… Am I a writer, then? Or not?
I can most certainly say that I believe that I have what it takes to be a writer. But then again, enthusiastically calling myself a great volleyball player and never actually playing volleyball would be kind of the same thing. And sort of hypocritical (not to mention that my motor skills are quite underdeveloped in sports in general).
Therefore, this year, I want to seriously explore my skills and difficulties as a writer. This would mean to remind myself again and again that “a writer writes”, exercise every day, and on the way, I might find out what it means to have the heart of a writer.
You are what you do. Write a work you are a writer whatever the pace may be. Think of the haiku poets from the past.
When the reason you wake up is to write and at one point share your writings with the world you simply are a writer. Do your thing.