Most people write. But what makes someone a writer?
Many people take photographs. But what makes someone a photographer?
Surely, it’s more than just ability. I can run–I’m physically able. But no one that knows me would ever confuse me for a runner.
It’s definitely more than wishful desire. I think it would be really neat to play the piano. But I’m not at all a piano player.
I suspect that it’s more than preference or enjoyment. I like history. But it would be grossly unfair to consider me a historiographer.
So what make someone an -er?
The distinction seems to be ongoing intentionality and investment.
To be an -er requires committing to a process of growth and development, making a decision to develop a skill or a sphere of knowledge, and then actually putting in the effort to make progress. Sometimes that effort is time. Sometimes it requires other resources.
I’m currently deciding if I want to become a photographer. I really enjoy taking pictures. My wife and I finally bought our first digital SLR camera. Now we’re thinking about better lenses. Software upgrade. Wondering when to take the time to go out and shoot some pictures. And when to invest the time to analyze and process those pictures after shooting them. Do I want to be a photographer? It’s a wishful desire, an area of enjoyment, and I think I have some ability. But will I keep going and become an -er?
I’m also exploring the idea of becoming a writer. I enjoy writing. I’ve finally begun a blog. Now I’m wondering about other writing projects. How much time do I give to writing, in the midst of work, classes, …and photography? Do I want to be a writer? It’s a wishful desire, an area of enjoyment, and I think I have some ability. But will I keep going and become an -er?
I’ve got levels of intentionality and investment–the difficult part seems to keep them ongoing. Not just to start off with zeal and hopes, but to slug through and really develop. Likely, I’ll need to push the level of investment to the point of sacrifice–making some choices that will diminish other areas of life. What will those sacrifices be? And what it comes to it, will it even be appropriate to make those sacrifices? Surely, there are some boundaries that should not be crossed in the pursuit of -er.
So, I don’t yet know where this will go. Yesterday, I took pictures. Today, I’m writing. Perhaps these are each steps toward -er. I’ve only been blogging for a few days: this makes 10 posts so far. A good start perhaps. But will I keep with it? When the homework piles up and the work email lies untouched in the inbox, will I keep with it? Should I keep with it?
The journey is far from complete. But I see a goal, and have a notion about the process.
Ready or not: -er I come!