My name is Lyndsie Clark and I am a writer. Saying that feels like I am admitting to a bad habit. A dirty secret. Like I should be in rehab, not a toastmaster’s meeting.
This is because I have always struggled with being creative and also being taken seriously. When I was a child, I was encouraged to embrace this creativity. However, as I grew into an adult, that was less and less embraced in favor of education and a “good job”. (or one that pays a lot of money)
It has taken me quite some time to accept that this creativity is as much a part of me as the desire for education and career. And even longer to accept that I can both be simultaneously creative and successful.
When I was in fifth grade, I entered a poetry contest. My first poem inspired a life-changing love of writing. Throughout grade school I wrote: poems, short stories, longer stories and novels. I started my first epic fantasy series when I was 13, finishing the first novel two years later. Sadly, the second one, is still sitting half finished on an old hard drive.
This was because in high school, everyone was planning for college. I didn’t want to go to college, I wanted to become a writer. However, my father – who had fought his way out of poverty to become a respected geophysicist at NOAA, believed in the irreplaceable value of a college education. And as he was the one holding my college fund, I could choose to attend a university or stay home while my parents traveled the world with that money.
I chose college and enrolled in the architecture school thinking that it was creative. It also, oddly, required the least amount of science courses. I mean, you can build models and draw things, right? Not really. If anyone has ever gotten through an architecture course, I admire you. It is a lot more difficult pictures and models. Especially for one who doesn’t have much affinity for math.
Halfway through college, I changed my major to linguistics. It was a major that sounded sciency enough for my dad to respect, but still allowed me to play with words all day. Even though I enjoyed linguistics enough to go on to my master’s degree. Something was always missing.
I hadn’t written anything for fun for my entire college career. Not a single poem. Then in the middle of my MA program, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. This is where I would write 50k words in 30 days. I was young, reckless, invincible and a bit masochistic – so I finished. I have never been more sleep deprived in my life, well…until I did it again the following year.
My creative drive had been reawakened. I was a writer! Well, not really…I was just writing for myself. I didn’t have to admit it to anyone. It’s not like I was going to make a profession of this anyway…
But in 2012, something else happened. I realized that I had many great ideas. I didn’t want to keep them secret, I wanted to share the excitement of my expansive imagination with the world. So this time I decided that I was going to write a novel and would not stop until it was completed, edited and my hands, my reader’s hands, my publisher’s hands.
When I won that poetry contest in fifth grade, the best thing about it for me was sharing my ideas with my friends. And that is still the case today. When I admitted to myself that the writer in me wouldn’t be silenced until I could share my creativity with the world, I made the best decision of my life. And even if my career progresses in a different direction, I am still and always will be, a writer.