I used to think titles were arbitrary – that what you did for a living didn’t define you. I still feel that way.
I first began “writing” back in 2010. I was in my fourth year of university, and needed a way to express my ideas in a tangible, concrete way. I used to sing, but found that that was far too subjective a medium. So, I figured since I couldn’t draw, or paint, writing was the obvious choice for me to channel my thoughts in a way that would last.
This carried on well into the year, by which time I had ventured off to the frigid, Canadian flat lands, known as Alberta, and was living alone in a dingy, University of Alberta campus bachelor apartment. It wasn’t exactly the most inspiring environment, but I somehow managed to hone my pent up creative energy through my newfound hobby at weekend “getaways” to the nearest Starbucks.
At that time, I would never have had the audacity to consider myself a writer by any account. I was working as a Clinical Research Coordinator by day and working towards becoming the world’s coolest obstetrician, by night (yes, my alternative life wasn’t any cooler than my day job). For me, blogging was just a fun, cute “side piece”, and no self-respecting person would ever consider that to be a real job. My goodness, no! I was going to be a doctor, dammit, even if it killed me (which it very well nearly did…Edmonton is cold and boring).
Five years later, here I am— my official title at my current job is Marketing Communications Writer. All three words describing something I did NOT go through four years of university for. All three of which I have no official “training” in. No, the reason I got this job was because five years ago, I started writing, and over the years I had built up a body of work as evidence that despite my lack of degrees in this area, I could indeed write.
I took a hobby, something I did for fun whilst sipping White Chocolate Mochas and people watching, and turned it into a career. No, I did not become a doctor (thank God!), and I’m no longer working in clinical research (double thank God!), but would you believe I’m making the most money I’ve made in any job I’ve had to date? I wouldn’t have believed it either if I didn’t see it pop into my chequing account every two weeks.
But, the truth is, I was always a writer, not just since someone’s been paying me to do it. I was a writer when I was blogging about my feelings and thought no one cared to read about that. I was a writer when I was interviewing obscure celebrities no one had ever heard of (have you finally heard of Lianne La Havas and Kimbra?). And, I was a writer even when I wasn’t writing; when I was afraid that no one would take me seriously. When I was afraid that people wouldn’t like any of my work, or would think I was stupid for even trying. I’m glad I got over it (well, sorta).
I am a writer.
But, what’s in a title?