What makes you a writer?
I used to see this question around the Internet a lot “back in the day” (like when the Internet was first made available to the public) and the popular opinion back then was, “you’re not a writer if you haven’t had anything published.”
I used to get SO ANGRY when I read this because I desperately wanted to be a writer but aside from having an imagination, I’m also a realist. The odds of actually being published are slim to none. So I thought, why try? What’s the point? It’s never going to happen and I guess I’ll never be a writer.
WOW. What an idiot.
I now champion people who call themselves writers. If you have an imagination and you write stuff down, you’re a writer.
But for kicks and grins, I looked up what being a writer “meant”, and here’s what I found:
- You read, a lot. (ME!)
- You talk to yourself (no comment – okay, yes, I do this occasionally)
- You go into bookstores just ‘because’ (yep – though I haven’t read a “real” book in years – it’s all Kindle, baby)
- You write down your ideas (yes, and then promptly forget where I wrote them down)
- Every story you tell is ‘slightly embellished’ (maybe sometimes)
- You have a stack of unused notebooks and yet, you continue to buy more (yes!)
- You read everything (YESYESYES)
- People call you a Grammar Nazi (YESYESYESYES!!!)
- You’re a word nerd (YES!)
- Your phone is always on silent (I ABHOR talking on the phone)
- You’re constantly searching for ‘why’ (you mean you don’t?)
- You write in your sleep (actually – I nap on an idea and I wake up with a direction – it’s super weird – and helpful!)
- You prefer to be alone (YESYESYESYESYESYESYES)
These are just some fun things that writers may, or may not, have in common. The bottom line, if you write, you’re a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
NaNoWriMo update: I”m now at 8,895 and I HATE my story. The prompt I’m working from is dark, too dark, and I can’t bring myself to do what the prompt suggests, so I’m trying to dance around it and now my story has veered off like a golf ball that sliced to the right. I don’t think I’ll post it because it sucks. Royally. But who knows, I’m just allowing my characters to take charge of the mess that I’m writing now and we’ll see where it takes me.
This is precisely WHY I should outline my stories. I can write anything, truly, quantity has never been my problem. I can write circles around a laptop but it never goes anywhere. And then I get stuck, and then the story takes a breath on it’s own and before long, it’s jumping off the page and chasing ME around in circles. It’s the quality that I have a problem with. There is no direction.
I’ll learn, one of these years.
Super hard to force myself to write after work today. But I forced myself and trudged through. I can’t decide if I’m going to continue with this story, see where it goes, or just chuck it and start something new. Think I’ll sleep on it and see how I feel tomorrow.