This Is Just to Say

When I was 26 and just out of grad school, I moved to Minneapolis with my then-boyfriend and started networking. During one of these meetings, a woman told me I should get some business cards that read,

Jessica Null: Writer, Editor.

That way, if I ever bumped into anyone who knew anyone connected with writing, I could hand the person my card.

“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m not sure I could take myself that seriously yet.”

Have you ever said something that later makes you wince? I’m sure the lady was like, “Quit wasting my time, then.” But she was very nice. “You have to take yourself seriously,” she urged. But I didn’t get it. I just didn’t get it. I’m embarrassed about it now, but I must not have been ready then. Timing is everything.

I had graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing and though I had a deep-rooted desire to sit in a dormered room and write all day, practical me thought I should make money first. Plus, I got an icky feeling when I thought about coffee houses and “writerly types” who sat around pontificating on the meaning of, “This Is Just to Say.” It wasn’t me.

I was true enough to myself that I decided I would still write. I’d just get paid for it, for every hour worked. I never made the business cards, but I did get two jobs I loved, one writing exhibit text and another writing for a state senator-turned-gubernatorial candidate.

However, that writing-in-a-room thing still nagged at me, as ever. I’m one of those who has to write or I get anxious and annoyed. I smoked in college. The urge to write is like the urge to have a cigarette.

There are many reasons why now is the time I have chosen to finally take myself seriously. As in, my dreams. As in, what I want to do has worth. Is worthy. All that. Many reasons. And that icky feeling? Not distaste. Fear. But it’s gone now.

Now I have written my first novel. Now I am attending my first writers conference. This has been a year of firsts, and all for the better. The best.

This is just to say…

Five minutes ago, I ordered my first set of business cards.




21 thoughts on “This Is Just to Say

  1. Nice that you are finally taking yourself seriously…perhaps it will be supported with the success of your first novel…can’t wait to see it in bookstores…..

  2. Jess I am so proud of you! I also think we’re sharing a brain here, because for the past two weeks I’ve been saying, “I think I’m finally ready to order some business cards. For real.” You have now given me the kick in the pants to do it. Thanks for a fun post. You ARE a real writer, and a great one at that! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  3. Hi Jessica, thanks for visiting CarryUsOff earlier. I used to feel awkward admitting I was a writer, too. (I also didn’t feel ‘writerly’ enough, which I now don’t understand what it means: if we write, we are writers. Nothing else matters.) I’m so glad to read what you’ve gone through. It inspires me to keep writing. 🙂

  4. Funny. A friend of mine gave me a great source for business cards long ago. I’ve never had any made either. I can just picture myself fishing them out of my purse and having to scrape bits of granola bar off them. That or they’d be signed by my kids on the back. Exciting news about your novel.

    • Yes, I was just thinking that! They were delivered five minutes ago and I took some out and stuffed them in my purse-bag and thought, as I looked at the wipes, diaper, and cream next to them, “They don’t look safe.”

    • I just put one up (minus the contact info). I went for a clean and simple look–only thing missing is the title of my novel, which I’m not dead-set on, yet.
      Thanks for reading!

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