I have a family friend who teaches English. When he sees me, he tells me, “Brooke, you don’t just write. You are a writer.” It makes me smile, partly because it’s such a compliment, and partly because it’s true.
I can’t keep the words inside of me. I can’t go around not expressing myself. I have to let these things out. It’s always been like this, and it always will be.
When I was six, I didn’t know how to type. I mean, I did, but I was extremely slow. I used the peck-and-type method, rooting out the keys, getting frustrated because it felt like I’d looked over all of the letters and I couldn’t find the one I was looking for. I’d forget the beginning of the sentence by the time I located the end; it was infuriating. But I kept at it, and now, at seventeen, I type at 120–140 WPM (words per minute). The average is 40.
This morning, I needed to print something. I went to a downstairs landing and plugged the computer in. As the machine turned on, I switched to another tab to do something while the machine printed — because, like many people born in this century, I like to avoid even a few seconds of idleness whenever possible. I landed on Medium, and continued on a short story I’m not quite finished with. The next thing I knew, my dad was coming downstairs with a box, the papers were sitting cool and still besides me, and several minutes had passed where my head had been completely lost among my story. I’d forgotten the time, my whereabouts, my obligations — there was just the story in front of me, my fingers dancing across the keys and translating my thoughts into palatable sentences.
For some people, they make schedules of when to write. For others, they write every now and then. For me, I’m always writing. Even before I found Medium or Quora, when I wasn’t writing that much on my computer, I was writing in my head. Sometimes, as someone is saying something, my head forms quotes and the words write themselves out. I analyze their body language, their tone, and add that in. Maybe something about their appearance. I’ll catch myself doing this and force myself to stop, because it’s distracting me from the conversation.
I don’t know why, but it devastates me when I think of something I want to write and I can’t get it down on paper or on the computer. It feels like a lost, wasted thought — and my stories and ideas are precious to me. I like to hold every single one, turn it around in my fingertips, study it meticulously, and place it down. I’ll then pick it up from time to time, looking at it with nostalgia and smiling to myself. Old thoughts make me nostalgic; new ones make me excited.
I would write even if nobody would ever read my writing. I would write if I was the only person left in the world. I will always write, because I have been born a writer. It’s not just something I do; it’s my identity.