On Becoming and Being a Writer

What are you first thoughts as you awake in the morning? Do you moan to yourself, “I have to do A, B and C today” or do you say, “I get to do A, B and C today!”  Lately I find myself jumping out of bed bright and early in the morning, grabbing my laptop from my bedside where I left it after working late into the night, and heading to a chair in the sunshine to sit and work with a smile!

I use the word work very loosely here. While one of the desired outcomes of what I am doing on my laptop is to generate revenue to support myself and leave a legacy, this work feels more like play. Yesterday, while my sister Laura and I were in her car driving to the fitness center, I gained clarity about my passion for writing. It was not the first time the thought of myself as a writer occurred to me.  Rather, it was the first time in years that I allowed myself to give serious consideration to the concept.

Many years ago – in fact 3 decades ago – a friend gave me a giant, stuffed pencil he had won at a carnival.  Today, propped on one shelf of my wall-to-wall bookcase, I still have that pencil because of its iron-on transfer, which reads:


Somehow, I internalized that slogan and without focus or direction, I wrote: creative writing, research, reporting, and journaling. Without ever having the title, it seems I have been a writer all along. Why did I not follow a focused writer’s path earlier?  After all, I did earn an “A” in Advanced English during my senior year in high school when I wanted to attend Northwestern University for Journalism.  I didn’t because I instead followed the path of the love of a young man, the man who would become my husband, briefly. Shortly after we divorced and I entered the work force, I was encouraged by executive employers who saw my potential as a writer after significantly editing their documents.

In the mid 1980’s I started a desktop publishing business and my social acquaintances in the Chicago area led me to big corporate clients, for whom I wrote and designed copy.  Working independently, I didn’t find a way to make the business thrive. Not knowing much about effective daily operations of the business stunted its health and weakly managing the operations took me away from my craft – writing and designing copy.  My business withered over a few years, which I found disheartening and disempowering.  In retrospect, it seems I confused my lack of business operations know-how with my craft skills and allowed feelings of inadequacy to dampen my passion for writing.

In 1990 when I relocated to a rural town in Central Illinois, I was one of the few people with a home computer and printer.  I began to assist one of the local ministers who was working on his doctoral dissertation for ministry (D. Min.) and soon took on the role of his editor.  Nine months later, birth was given to his dissertation bearing my name as editor. My love of writing was rekindled and the experience boosted my confidence for advancing my education and ultimately pursuing my own doctorate*.

In 1995 I enrolled in college without declaring a major so I could explore various subjects. My psychology teacher was favorably impressed and in disbelief that her class was my first. Writing papers for school was a fun challenge I faced with enthusiasm and ease, and the grades I earned helped re-fuel my desire to write. I outlined books that I would someday author, and even visualized myself being a guest on talk shows. I see now those were important and appropriate exercises in moving toward a goal although I didn’t follow through.

Just one semester later I declared “science pre-professional” as my major and took on a grant-funded student job as a research assistant at a V.A. hospital. In that position I was first exposed to medical research using the Internet and became a junior member of a team that published scholarly articles.  They were very gracious to include me in the publishing of their work (see #314), which provided another boost to my confidence and a reminder of my earlier passion to write.  Unfortunately, I was unable to remain in school at that time so I lost the job at the V.A..

An assortment of unrelated jobs helped me explore life before I returned to school.  Then, I wrote many, many term papers toward the completion of my Associates of Arts degree in general studies (2006) and my Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical sciences (2008), as well as toward a bachelor of arts in psychology, which I still intend to complete. In 2009 I was officially enrolled in a doctorate of chiropractic (DC) program with additional classes toward a doctorate in naturopathy (ND).  Although I felt ill-prepared for the hard sciences, I loved the philosophy and psychology-oriented course where term papers were the norm.

While the rest of my experience in the DC-ND programs is documented in my blog entries categorized under my blog Medical Student Success Strategies (MS3), it is the experience of writing I want to emphasize here: In all the years of glimpsing my subconscious’s vision of myself as a Big-Time Writer, I was a writer.  I have been writing often and well.

Meeting mega-successful Big-Time Writer, best-selling author Mark Victor Hansen in September 2009 with his co-author, the also very successful Best-selling author Robert G. Allen inspired me to begin writing my MS3 blog and to consider writing an e-book.  In January 2010, I met Hansen again and was tickled that he remembered me. In his presentation of his Wealthy Writer’s Wisdom program that day, Hansen emphasized the importance of writing every day, if you want to be a writer. If you know what book or other project you want to accomplish and by when, break it into sections.  E.g.:  If you want to write a 365 page novel in a year, write one page per day.

Mark Victor Hansen and Lisa M. Blacker Sept/2009

Mark Victor Hansen and Lisa M. Blacker Jan/2010

With my website in place, I will be writing regularly and publishing much of it here. I have an e-book in the works and a non-fiction book that I am outlining. Am I a big-time writer?  No, not yet. But, I am a writer.


Footnote: * I was enrolled in a DC program, a professional doctorate which requires a clinical internship, contrast to an academic or research doctorate (e.g.: doctorate in philosophy – Ph.D., or doctorate of ministry – D. Min.) which generally require a dissertation.

(Originally posted March 8, 2010 with minor edits on September 19, 2012)

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