A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to look through some of my writings from high school, where I spent my senior year as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. My high school experience was also filled with classes like Semantics, Research Writing, and Creative Writing, so in addition to articles and editorials, I wrote quite a lot of poetry and essays.
The typewritten pages I was leafing through bore the smudges and dents of well-worn correction tape (remember that?), and the repeated backspacing and re-keying needed to make a word bold (remember that?). It made me feel nostalgic. I missed the classroom environment I had probably taken for granted at the time—an environment of literature and discussion and shimmering wordplay.
And I wondered, briefly, if I am “less” of a writer now.
Much of what I write is repetitive—because a client wants to say the same thing every year.
Sometimes what I write is weak—because a client is a committee rather than a leader.
Occasionally I feel like I’m being asked to use words to hide the truth rather than clarify it.
So sometimes I miss that phase of my life when I could devote hours to crafting messages—and discussing the practice of crafting with other people who have the same love of language that I have.
And sometimes I feel like less of a writer these days than I was back then.
On the other hand, maybe I’m more of a writer.
Because real writing is not just about the process; it’s about the results. It’s about using words to build a bridge through the fog so people can connect. It’s about balancing competing demands—satisfying the committee, yet reaching the reader. It’s about meeting impossible deadlines and still making the message sing.
Some days it’s a job. Some days it’s an adventure.
But a real writer gets it done, either way.
It’s not glamorous. It’s not sexy.