The Courage to Call Myself a Writer: Stevie Huscroft

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Stevie - Joy in the Midst of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stevie, short for Stephanie, is a self-proclaimed coffee addict, wife, and mother to three fur babies that have taken over her heart and home.  A lover of words and yoga, she blogs at Joy in the Midst of about her quest for joy and learning to love a little deeper, laugh a little more often, and live with more gratitude for all the blessings life has given her.  She serves as a contributing writer and Community Lead for the SITS Girls and can also be found hanging out on Facebook or tweeting away at @joyinthemidstof.

It took me a long time to refer to myself as a writer.  For many years I simply didn’t feel worthy of the title. But a writer I was, from the moment I first learned to put pen to paper. It started with creating simple sentences. I like milk. My mom is nice. Simple sentences that I wrote completely on my own. And then, at the age of nine, I wrote a book full of poetry. Admittedly, it was rife with spelling errors and not really any good.  Nevertheless, those poems were, as my writing has always been, my heart in word form.

In the beginning, there were diaries with tiny locks and keys. Then journals.  Short stories. Spiral bound notebooks full of scribbles, unfinished poems, thoughts, musings.

When my parents divorced and I fell into my first deep pit of suffocating depression, my writing was probably the only thing that stopped me from imploding. Or exploding. Take your pick. It was how I coped, how I processed the overwhelming waves of emotions that crashed over and over inside my chest. You see, writing, feeling, thinking – for me, they are one and the same.

Perhaps I could’ve called myself a writer when I started to give poems as gifts.  Or when some of my work was published in my high school literary journal. It would have been fair to claim the title during my stint writing for my college newspaper. Maybe even when I started submitting short stories and poems to literary magazines only to receive a rejection notice in return; what can be a more true writer’s experience than that? But even then, I couldn’t call myself a writer.

I had a lot of fear. I desperately wanted to be a writer, but was terrified I wasn’t good at it. I shuddered to think of the cognitive dissonance that would sweep down on me if it turned out I wasn’t decent at the one thing I obsessed over excelling at. And given the fact that my depression and anxiety were still largely untreated, when it came to my writing, I couldn’t see straight.

My depression was a constant undercurrent, ebbing and flowing unceremoniously like the tide. In the back of my mind, I knew I needed medical treatment. I was afraid of what that meant; that I had failed somehow because I couldn’t find a way to fix myself. On a deeper level, I worried I wouldn’t be able to write anymore. What if I couldn’t write when I was happy?

But as it turns out, medication was not only the best thing I could’ve done for myself, it was also the best thing I could’ve done for my writing. I have described my emergence from depression as going from seeing the world in 1 bit color to 32. And that only gave me a broader spectrum of color to write about.

The eve of my 30th birthday I started a blog. I’d been on medication and living (relatively) depression-free for nearly four years and I had a whole new outlook on life. I wanted a place to chronicle my new journey. I was on a quest for joy, trying to love a little deeper, and live with more gratitude.  Joy in the Midst of was born and I started tapping back into that inner creative energy. I was writing again regularly, and it was delicious. In fact, you might even say it made me whole.

It took me a while to acknowledge it, but at the very core of my being, I am a writer. It’s not only how I think and feel, it’s how I learn. Finally, after 30 years, I have the courage to say: my name is Stevie, and I am a writer.

Namaste.

Read Stevie’s blog.

Find Stevie on Facebook.

Follow her on Twitter.

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  • http://writingwishing.com/ Alison

    Yes, yes you are, and a damn fine one too, Stevie. It makes me glad to see you here, at Erin’s.

    • Stevie

      Thank you Alison! I was literally tearing up as I read all the comments coming in. Thank you for your words. Thank you for always being so helpful, without your blogging guidance, I would have probably not had the courage to try guest posting!

  • http://www.fromtracie.com/ From Tracie

    You are so very much a writer. I knew it the first time I read your words, and I have been blown away by more of them many times since.

    • Stevie

      Oh wow, Tracie, coming for you, such a talented writer, that means the world to me.

  • Patrick Ross

    Congratulations, Stevie. This is a very inspiring story. It rings true in many respects for me and my own path toward an art-committed life, and I am sure to others as well. Keep at it, and hold on to that awareness of the urge to not call yourself a writer because you don’t think you’re good enough. We’ll never be as good as a part of us thinks we can be, but just by the act of writing you are a writer. And you’ve gone far beyond just writing.

    • Stevie

      Thank you Patrick. I love this way you phrased that, “an art-committed life.” I used to dismiss my writer as not being art. My sister danced and acted, and my brother was a musician, and drew and painted. I felt like my writing wasn’t an outward expression, therefore not art. But I feel differently now. And it made me smile that you confirmed my feelings that my writing is artistic expression.

  • http://aladyinfrance.com/ Lady Jennie

    We’re very similar Stevie. :-) I’ve been on medication for 20 years, mostly depression-free, and am only now gathering the courage to call myself a writer. Before I thought that only novelists deserved that title, but am now viewing the whole thing differently. Keep up the good work!

    • Stevie

      I’m so glad to meet you Jennie. Blogging was the first time I spoke openly about my depression and it’s been a very healing process. It is very encouraging to connect with others who have had the same struggle. I am looking forward to spending some time over at your blog. I thought, like you, that I needed to write a book before I could call myself a writer. Admittedly I have tried several times and never finished a manuscript. It’s still one of my life goals. But in the meantime, I realized there are so many other ways to write and share writing beyond a novel.

  • Greta

    I love hearing more about your background, Stevie, and what moves you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stevie

      I’m so amazed by the kindness I received here at Erin’s. I am so touched and blown away. Thank you Greta! I’m so glad to know you in this blogging world!

  • Stevie

    So humbled to be here today, Erin, on the blog of someone I admire so much, and in the company of you awesome readers. You have featured some amazing bloggers in #Show Me Your Writer Roots and I’m just honored to be among them.

  • http://www.misselaineouslife.com Elaine A.

    I was nodding as I read because I did the same thing as a kid and teenager, with all the journals, poems, etc. We ARE writers but it is hard to call yourself that and why is that I wonder? I think you are very talented and I love to read this post to get to know you better. :)

    • Stevie

      Thank you Elaine! I was getting teary as I read these comments coming in, and now making my replies I’m getting teary all over again. How is it that there are so many amazing people here in this blogging community? And to think otherwise I’d never have met you all. I wish I knew why it was so hard to call ourselves writers. I still have some of those old poems and journals. I threw away any really embarrassing ones, but a few I kept. It is interesting to look back at what types of things I was writing about back then.

  • thekitchenwitch

    Totally can relate. I’m over 40 years old, and I still feel squeamish calling myself a writer.

    • Stevie

      Thank you! I’m so glad I’m not alone in this!

  • http://www.jenniferpwilliams.com/ Jennifer P. Williams

    Yay! I’m so happy that you sought out the help you needed, and now that you are on the other side you see what a benefit it was.

    • Stevie

      Thank you Jennifer! I’m so grateful I got the help, and I wonder why it took me so long. I actually did it for my husband, when I saw how my depression affected him. Funny isn’t it? I could do it for him, but not for me. I feel very blessed to have a good doctor and a good therapist.

  • http://www.adishofdailylife.com/ Michelle Nahom

    You’re a great writer. I always enjoy reading what you write. I loved to write when I was younger too, and then I just stopped. For a while when I got started again, it was really hard, but now it’s starting to feel more natural. I’m glad you were able to get help! It sounds like it has made a world of difference. :)

    • Stevie

      Oh thank you Michelle! I’m so glad you are writing again and that you are in the blogging world! I am so glad I got the help as well. It’s not always perfect I still have the occasional bad day or even week, but from where I was before, it’s night and day.

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    I love this. You are a great writer. To compose your thoughts in readable form and have others know exactly what you are thinking and feeling, and even think they might know you a little and hear your voice – that takes talent, and you have it.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Stevie

      Thank you Andrea! My heart is feeling so full from all the kind words here! I’m so grateful Erin was kind enough to share here space with me.

  • http://tamaralikecamera.blogspot.com/ Tamara Bowman

    I remember when I had my first BlogHer piece syndicated and I said to the editor in question, “Can I say I’m a writer now? I want to say I’m a writer, a writer, a writer.” And she wrote back simply, “Yes, you’re a writer, a writer, a writer!” In truth, I had a similar childhood to you – I had been writing since…well..since ever…and when I went through trauma and anxiety, it helped. It didn’t make me better, but it did stop the implosions. My 5th grade English teacher once said, “I get it! Your writing is sad, so you don’t have to be. And you’re not!” And nowadays, my writing isn’t so sad. Sometimes, but not always.

    • Stevie

      Oh Tamara! You get it, you do. When I was sad, the writing held the feelings for me. They came back, so I had to write more. It always feels a little eerie when I realize how much we have in common. I’m glad our writing is not so sad these days. And I think we are both, writers, writers, writers!

  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    I just discovered Stevie’s blog this week and am blown away by her writing. You most definitely are a writer.

    • Stevie

      Christine, your words make me so happy. I’m so excited to have connected with you. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve decided we are going to be friends.

  • Leah Davidson

    You, my dear, are a writer in every fibre of your being. I LOVE reading your work. You are honest, you are eloquent and you inspire. So glad you finally caught up to knowing what so many must have known for so long.

    • Stevie

      I want to hug you! Oh Leah, you just made my whole week with those words. I’m so lucky to know you!

  • http://www.31millionseconds.com/ Kristen

    Awwww Stevie, you are most certainly a writer! Your words are so beautiful, and I always enjoy reading what you have to say!

    • Stevie

      Thank you Kristen! You know I love reading your words as well! Feeling really happy in my heart today.

  • alexandra

    This is one of hte hardest things to say, isn’t it? like we think we’re something. or being pretentious. Why do we have to have proof? A jogger calls themself a jogger, a runner does the same, and so does a knitter. They say, “I am a biker.” Period. We need to be like that, too.

    • Stevie

      Ah great point Alexandra. Why is writing different and why can’t the simple act of doing it be enough? I hope we writers can keep encouraging each other to own our “writer-ness.”

  • Kim@Co-Pilot Mom

    I relate to that feeling of not feeling like I should call myself a writer. I wrote often in my youth, but then stopped after high school to focus on other things. I have always felt like that makes me less qualified, somehow. You have made me think about it differently. :) It is lovely to see you here at Erin’s, Stevie.

    • Stevie

      Thank you Kim! Isn’t Erin amazing? I am so honored she let me guest post! I wonder if I had taken a different route if I would feel differently. I focused on other things as well, industrial psychology and business. If I had studied writing instead would I feel more worthy? I think we are still qualified. We have so many other things to write about now!

  • Adrienne Bolton

    Oh how I love this post and your writing! I can relate to every word. It’s hard to admit that I want to write. That I DO write. I’m just a wannabe blogger most days, but every once in a while I have the courage to call myself a writer.

    • Stevie

      Thank you dear friend for those words! So funny you would refer to yourself as a wannabe blogger, but I can so relate to that feeling. You are an amazing blogger and an amazing writer. I have learned so much from you!

  • Ilene Evans

    I think there are many of us who believe that we need outside accolades to be considered a writer, whether that be a book deal or published magazine articles or guest blogs with one of the superstars of the blogging world. But in reality, we’re writers the moment we acknowledge ourselves as such. I’m so glad you are a writer and that you share your words and experiences with all of us. I hope you never stop doing that.

    • Stevie

      I like that, becoming a writer the moment you acknowledge it. It’s true, I’ve often felt like I needed those external acknowledgements, but in reality, I needed an internal acknowledgement. Blogging has been such a rewarding way for me share my words, and read so many beautiful words from others that feed my soul. It’s like a beautiful fulfilling cycle of reading and writing, sharing and connecting. Thank you for being a part of that beautiful cycle. I also hope you never stop sharing your words.

  • http://zerofoxgiven.wordpress.com/ Kim

    “I desperately wanted to be a writer, but was terrified I wasn’t good at it.”

    Spot on. I completely understand that. Writing is the one thing I really want to do. I’ll flip burgers, I’ll serve tables, I’ll flog books and I will enjoy all of those things, but writing is what I need to do. That said, it’s so difficult to admit that I am a writer, because I worry that I’m just not good at it. Adequate, for sure, but not good.

    I love this piece. You have an incredible journey and it was a joy to read. You absolutely are a writer. Please, for the love of all things good, never, ever stop.

  • http://ShanaNorris.net/ Shana Norris

    What a wonderful concept for a series, and your essay is just amazing, Stevie. And reading through the comments, it’s obvious you’ve touched a chord with other writers.
    I can identify with how you process things through writing, that it’s how you think and feel and learn. I saw this quote from Flannery O’Connor yesterday on Mama Kat’s blog and fell a little in love with it: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

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  • Brittnei Washington

    Aw Stevie! This was so beautifully written! You are such a wonderful person and writer! I’m even more happy for you that you no longer feel depressed! Looking forward to continuing to follow your blog. xoxo