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On Being a Writer

Anonymous asked: “I have a hard time writing because there’s lots of stuff I wanna do in my free time, and writing is just 1 of those. Does that mean I’m just not dedicated enough to being a writer? I feel like it does, but that still doesn’t stop me.” 

I think it’s important to remember that writing is an art. Some people practice every day and others might go for weeks without writing a word, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a story to tell. 

To some writers, there may be a distinction, but truth be told, there isn’t. Just because someone is writing all the time or very often really doesn’t mean that they’ll be necessarily any quicker to finishing their project. You can write every day and still take ten years to finish a book. You can write for an hour on every other Saturday and take ten years to finish your book too. The time spent writing doesn’t in my mind make anyone more or less of a writer. 

I sort of identify writers by whether they have a project they can talk about or not. If they’ve written in the past and are telling me about that, it counts. If they’re talking about inspiration that came to them in a dream last night that just has to be a novel one day, that counts too. I get excited when I can talk to someone about what we’re working on, no matter where it is in development. That’s kind of what tips me off that I’m talking with another writer. I like to talk about writing and maybe that’s not everyone’s style and that’s alright too. I’ve never been all that critical of who wants to call themselves a “writer” and why or why not. 

I know there’s a mess when it comes to using the term “writer” as your professional title and it’s something that even pretty well published writers stress over, but that’s another topic. In that case, it’s not that you’re not a writer, but that you get nervous to say that you’re a writer. Like am I enough of a writer to be using this term professionally in front of people? When people ask me what I do, I tend to say, I’m a writer, but then quickly, I’ll nervously add like three other job titles into the mix as well. I can’t help it. It’s a reflex and a bad one at that and I wish there weren’t so much shame, but yeah. Another issue for another day. 

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