October 18, 2011
Heidi Lading Kiec
I am a talented writer.*
I am also a terrible writer, a terrified writer, a truant writer and a writer in transition.
But, am I…a writer?
I dream of the day I’ll introduce myself as such. Currently, when people ask me what I do, I tell them I do PR. That’s what I’ve done the majority of my career. And since I left the 9-5 world, PR is how I’ve made money. But the part I’ve always loved about PR, and the part I moved away from the most in my former position as a managing director of a PR boutique, is the writing.
A few years ago I left my full-time job, moved across the country with my husband at the time and tried to start writing. Not writing to help corporations make more money by differentiating themselves from the masses, which I’m good at, but writing for pure pleasure. Writing because that’s what my soul needed.
I discovered an amazing writer’s community called Richard Hugo House and formed a writer’s group with a handful of people I met there. We met twice a month at my place and, without fail, I rushed those afternoons to write something new I could read to the group. I started many pieces. I finished none. I wasn’t ready. My life was in upheaval. I was afraid to write about the truth and I couldn’t bring myself to create a fictional world. Instead I wrote technical white papers and case studies for clients, and I blogged about the mundane and buried pain in those posts. Purpose did not know my name. I was lost.
My return to Chicago nearly two years ago was as a single woman with a dog in tow. Since then I’ve tried to discover who I am, what I want, and how to stop being afraid of those answers.
I have a friend who says she wants to be me when she grows up: she has a husband, two kids, a cat, a fish, a house and a full-time job; while I spend my days sleeping in, walking my dog, playing tennis, sailing, reading, watching TV, going out with friends, and spending time with the super fantastic man in my life. Occasionally, though not lately, I work. I can’t complain. My life is GOOD. But there’s a void. My soul is gasping to be enveloped in, capital P, Purpose.
Architects provide shelter for people, chefs and clergy nourish humanity, mankind is healed by physicians. But what do I do? I enjoy myself and laugh as much as possible. But. What. Do. I. Do?
It’s time I found out.
*My old corporate communications boss, a self-proclaimed talented writer, told me this in an elevator at the ad agency where I interned 13 years ago. Whether I find his comment to be fiction or creative non-fiction depends on the day.