What is the definition of the 3-letter word ‘and’? There are 15 definitions to what this little word means. The best way to remember the power this word has is the word conjunction. A conjunction is a word that allows a sentence to be richer, more complex. Think of conjunctions (such as and, but and or) as the hitch to a tow truck –allowing you to bring all of your imagination to the page. With this in mind, I want you, the writer, to begin to do something radical: own your ‘and’.
What does this mean, you ask?
This is a reminder to you as a writer to bring all your experiences to the any work, idea or project that you have. For me? My and’s are as follows:
I am Black, woman and writer.
I am woman and mother.
I am a believer in God and am pro-life in the complete sense.
These are just a few, of course, but these are just some of the identities and experiences I bring to anything space, platform and project I am involved with.
There will be no idea you will write or conceive which will not expect or demand you be confident in all that you are. In owning your ‘and’ you are owning your identity. You are defining how you move in the world, undetermined or undermined by the opinions of other people. This kind of radical honesty is imperative to a writer! Ownership and mastery of the self is tool of a writer, and needed no matter the genre you desire to write!
The work you create will always bring a small sense of uncertainty. This feeling of tightrope walking, holding a stack of dishes on your head! The only way to conquer that feeling is to realize not to look down, and you succeed one step at a time…and the further you go on this tightrope, the more dishes you get to throw off you head. Knowing who are as an individual, accepting who are as an individual, gives your space as a writer! This space is invaluable because it grants you a power to be honest, open and vulnerable. This, this willingness to be honest brings a beauty and empathy to you work.
This is the power of storytelling! When a writer can ‘own their and’ and create because of or in spite of, they give a piece of themselves to their readers whom will become their audience.
Shy from nothing. Embrace everything. Own your ‘and.’