Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Makes a Writer?

My brother is a doctor.  He went to school for about 70 years so I could say that (okay probably not quite that long, but his wife claims it's close).

I am a mother.  I had sex and gave birth.

Some titles are easier to qualify for than others.

What about writer?  What is necessary to qualify for that title?  Who gets to decide when you can rightfully wear it?

I've asked myself that question a lot lately.  I write a lot.  Other people read my stuff.  Does that make me a writer?

I'm not published (no, I haven't tried).  My daughter is, so I guess she's a writer.

Is there a difference between being a writer and being an author?

I think it's tough.  Some people claim that title for themselves rather easily even though I wouldn't give it to them (yes, I'm talking about Stephanie Meyer again -- I know, I've got issues). 

And there are many published authors out there making a lot of money on serial novels that are very formulaic, no originality, no thinking (no, I don't feel this way about all of them; don't send me hate comments; I'm sure the ones you read are awesome).

The real question here is if I am a writer.  No, I'm not asking you.  I know that you can easily answer in the comments, but that won't do it for me.  Unfortunately, no amount of telling me something positive about myself will convince me.  Not from the outside.

I need to feel it from the inside.  That's the only way to convince myself, to wear the title.

I have received many wonderful compliments on my writing (thank you, all you wonderful people -- you rock!).  I have had people tell me that I've helped them through a difficult time.  I've had people tell me that I made them laugh or made them think.  These things are very cool.

But I think what finally convinced me is that I enjoy it so much.  It feels right.  It feels like I am exercising a muscle, stretching and growing, progressing.  It fits me.

It's part of me, part of who I am.  Writing. 

So I guess that makes me . . . *gulp* . . . a writer.  Identity crisis averted.  For now.

16 comments:

CHERRANNE said...

:) XO For what it is worth.......YOU ARE A WRITER. And what a writer. Thanks, Robin.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Stopping from SITS! You are definitely a writer. Enjoyed your mental workout on writing.

Kazzy said...

In the age of the internet, writing is such a different process. We get immediate feedback, and possibly an immediate following. For me this has changed the definition of a writer. Before I started blogging in '08, I never wrote creatively, but now that people have enjoyed some of the things I have published on my blog, and I know I am being read, I feel much more legit. Personal essays (which are a fave form for me), can become personal to other people before months have passed and they have sat on someone's dusty desk, dying.

If you write, and you enjoy it, and people are reading it, you are a writer.

K and D Roylance said...

A definition from my viewpoint...... you are a thinker with the ability to transfer your thoughts to the written word with clarity, insight and humor. Because I am lucky enough to know you I sometimes hear your voice while reading your stuff (especially the comments in parenthesis), so perhaps you are also a storyteller or motivational speaker?!?

Bonnie said...

It's a ticklish thing to define a role, isn't it? Is being an anything, just *doing* that thing, or doing it *well*? Mothers are so much more than incubators, and writers are so much more than people who rattle keys. You are a writer. What you're really asking, is are you a *good* writer, and what defines that. Is it because people are helped by your words, or because those words are formed well, or because they're popular or clever or funny or inspiring? I think (shocker) that Jesus is the model. He is a Savior, not because he was acknowledged a *good* Savior by his peers, or because people chose to be helped by him, or because his message was well-phrased. He is because he performed his role perfectly (which translates to us as "the best we know how")and he let that be to others whatever it was to them. Be that kind of writer, who does what she does the best she knows how and lets it go and you will know it's *good.*

Wow. That sounded more like a mother than a friend. Know my heart and forgive ...

Yarell said...

I haven't read the other comments yet so forgive me if someone already said this.

There's a big difference between a writer and someone who writes. Anyone can write. I'm writing right now. But i wouldn't consider myself a writer.

To be a writer (or a parent for that matter) is more than just putting words to paper (or pixels to screen). It's enjoying what you do. It's being able to capture an idea and transmit it to another person that's far removed from yourself in space and time. It's the ability to do that in a way that engages them and makes them WANT to read on.

It's hard to define where the line is between someone who writes and someone who's a writer. I'd say that since YOU feel like you're a writer, then you are. Who cares what we all think?

Dona said...

You write, therefore you are...a writer. (I can hear your voice when I read your blog too. It's good.)

Jessica Grosland said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Mom. (*snooty face*) Oh, now that I'm published I'll never have an identity crisis again! (*laughs and returns to normal voice*)

Really, it's something you have to figure out for yourself. Like you said, it's not really something that can be figured out by going down a checklist of qualities. If you feel it inside of you, then feel free to assume the title. Only you know if it comes naturally.

Libby said...

And can someone be taught to write well or is it innate? I've been pondering this question lately with a friend of mine (an academic). She seems to think you can be taught but I'm not convinced. Of all that I do I would love to be a better writer. What do you think?

DarthBillgr said...

I believe that anyone who can write more then a couple of sentences without getting bored or forgetting what the heck you were writing about is a writer, And I KNOW THESE THINGS.

ouch, my brain hurts.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

stopping by from sits and nice to meet a author.

Missy said...

Interesting outlook. I have often wondered myself if I am a writer. I have a blog, but does that make me a writer?

I may have to delve into this a little further myself.

Kerry Neville Bakken said...

The best definition of a writer came from my writing teacher: Writers write. Being a writer doesn't depend on publication, it's all about putting one word after the other on the page.

New Jersey Memories said...

Not only are you a fine writer, but you ARE a published writer. Having a blog with a potential world-wide audience of thousands is definitely a published writer.

I tried for a long time to get published the normal way -- sending out work to magazines only to be rejected. Then it occurred to me that having a blog meant my writing could be published instantly! Far more people might read your blog posts than something published in a famous magazine.

A real writer, of course, doesn't write just for the sake of being published. They write all the time because they love to write. So think of yourself as a writer, because you ARE a writer.

blueviolet said...

I couldn't agree with you more. If you feel you're a writer, then you are. It comes from within!

Heather of the EO said...

Yup. Agreed. :)