Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., Winter Park, FL

This was always the image I had in my head when I became a ‘writer.’ I’m sitting outside a nice coffee house. When I became a ‘writer,’ I would sit in casual coffee cafes and tea houses, smartly writing away. My fingers would be flying over the keyboard and other patrons would look over enviously at my intensity of purpose. And look at me…living the dream! Ok, maybe I’m just looking at the image in my head and this is the first time I’ve actually had the time (er…nerve) to try it. I have no idea if other patrons are envying my intensity of purpose but one asked if they could take my extra chair.

Today (because I plan to do more!) I’m at Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. in Winter Park, Florida. I came up to Orlando for a doctor appointment with my youngest only to have it delayed until this afternoon. That would have been nice to know at 4am when I had to wake up this morning but I digress.

I have to put ‘writer’ in quotes at this moment to separate it from the years and years of writing I have done up to this point. I have written essays, technical manuals, web copy, advertising copy, quality award applications, grant applications, grant reports, newsletters, blogs, lesson plans, and exactly one Master’s thesis, but at this moment I truly feel like a ‘writer.’

What is the difference? Even though I have been paid countless times over the years for my writing, I’ve never considered myself a writer or author. I was an Artist, a Designer, a Volunteer, a Student, an Environmental Educator and more. Writing was a part of what I was doing, not what I was focusing on. Now, I want to write a book. Actually, I have several ideas for books at this point.

So today I’m writing for writing’s sake. I’ve already started my first book. The outline is written as well as rough drafts of the first few chapters. No, I didn’t write those this morning. They’ve been slowly put together over the past several months as I reconciled this idea of wearing a new identity…writer. 

As I sit here having this conversation with myself and you at my first coffee house writing session, I feel the mantle of ‘writer’ settling over me. New identities are sometimes hard to wear but this one feels right.

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