Monday, February 6, 2012

I Am a Writer

I have struggled with this label. Writer. I don't feel I can call it my profession --- no money, no benefits, no boss (or co-workers, for that matter). At this point, it's more of an avocation...a pastime...a hobby. If it's not a job, for moolah or a Pulitzer, can I call myself a writer?

I guess if you look at the word literally, everyone over the age of 6 is a writer. Everyone can write....put pen to paper....make squiggly marks...some of it even makes sense. Technically, I'm a writer -- a southpaw with lousy penmanship.

I have written for years -- mostly poetry (when I was younger and had more angst) and an unpublished novel. I tried to get it published, but with no success.

It's a kind of zen question: if you write a book and no one reads it, is it really a book? Lee Child

So am I a writer? A real writer? Even though I don't have a book out there?
I will admit, I have gotten a LOT of satisfaction from writing this blog. People actually read it. To my lovely, wonderful, beautiful/handsome, obviously astute and brilliant readers:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You rock my world in ways you cannot imagine!

It's hard, as a writer, which I am, to work on something l-o-n-g, without much feedback. Staying motivated is a challenge too, especially since I don't have an editor or publisher breathing down my neck about a deadline. So, I s'pose being an unpublished writer has its perks too.

For the last decade or so, I was a teacher. Easy to define and categorize. And pretty obvious too, at 8:20 a.m. or so, when kids piled in the classroom. I had to do something with 'em, so I taught 'em English. Might help. Couldn't hurt.

And in between classes, and at night, and on the weekends I wrote. I started with a question, and hoped it would grow into a short story. It blossomed into a novel. One that sits unpublished, collecting dust.

I wrote it. Am I a writer?

My answer is YES!

Why? I write because there are stories inside of me that only I can tell. Even if I explained the story, in detail, for someone else to write, it wouldn't be the same as MY story. The world needs MY story. I need to write my story. Luckily, according to Alfred Kazin anyway, getting published isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax. Alfred Kazin, Think, February 1963

It's about the writing....telling the story....creating the a way no one but I can do.

I still have insecurities. To counteract them, I claim it. I own it. When people ask what I do, I tell them, "I'm a writer." I have to believe it myself if I'm going to project it to the world. Hell, I just ordered business cards, with "writer" as my profession, so it must be true!


What are you at your core? Who are you really? Do you have something you need to claim? DO IT!

Have you been there?


  1. And there is my dilemma.... what is my job, MY core purpose?

    I ponder this day after day as I try to discover my quest and purpose in life. Some argue that we're here for a short period of time and then we're worm food. I hate that! I don't believe that I'm destined to be a great leader, or a philosopher, or leave some great legacy in my wake, but I do believe I'm here for something dammit! I'm not worm food yet, and 100 yrs (hopefully) is a long time to spend just slowly decomposing into a meal for a squiggly slimmy thing in the dirt.

    But what is my purpose, my job? Is my purpose to be a mother? I have a child I adore and would do anything for. I feed him, take him to school, practices, church, the park. I make sure he's clean and happy. I have a child who I've been dreaming of for 3 yrs, but have yet to create. Is my purpose to be a wife? I have a husband who is my rock and I'm his. My husband who I vowed my love, fidelity, obedience and trust and honor to the end of the universe (seriously). Is my purpose to be in Real Estate, helping anyone I can find a nest to settle into/ begin anew? Or a Hair Stylist, showing everyone their beauty, even though the only beauty that matters is what color and a bob can't reveal. Is it to be a psychologist, a dancer, a singer, a Fashion Designer or any other "occupation" I've dreamed of becoming?

    I guess on the positive side, I still have a l-o-n-g time to figure this all out, and while I'm glad you've discovered your's (even though you've pretty much always known), I'm jealous you have that. I yearn for the day I can proclaim "I am a _____" with vigor and enthusiasm! My day will come, but patience is a virtue I haven't quite mastered.

    I love you, I love your blog and I'm so proud of you for having the balls to express yourself! Good on you!

  2. Wonderful post today. Great job.

    Stop by anytime!

    Writers Wanted

  3. I tend to think of myself as - and definte myself as - a scientist. To be honest, I think such a title is more important for myself than others: as long as *I* know what I am, then I can feel purposeful. I certainly don't claim to be a great scientist...or even a mediocre one...the adjective doesn't matter as much as the noun. :-)

    I came to the decision that "I am scientist" during the course of my undergraduate Chemistry degree: despite finding the course challenging and unlikeable at times, I realised that science was the direction I wanted to take my life, and what I believed I was suited for. If I'd decided that I WASN'T a scientist...well, I'm not sure I would have seen the course out to graduation. Of course, things might change later if I switch profession or bail out, but thankful I feel I'm allowed to be flexible...

  4. I want to answer "I am not a writer" as Leonard Nimoy's books come to mind -- "I Am Not Spock" and "I Am Spock." But aside from that, I have recently realized that I'm not a writer, and I don't think I want to be despite everyone else wanting that for me. I have a few things to say and have found blogging a satisfying way to say them. And it's nice that there are a few people out there who read my thought bursts. We seem to want fervently to give ourselves a label, or labels, to define ourselves. But that limits us to the commonly perceived boundaries of those titles. And then people want us to function within those limits. I've decided to be. Not to just be or only be -- but to simply be. And I'll see what else I am not that I've opened this door. (This is getting way too profound. I'm going to the corner for a timeout.)

  5. Gee I hate typos. That should have read "now that I've opened this door," vs. "not that I've opened this door." (I'm assigning me additional timeout in the corner for sloppy proofreading.)

  6. It only took me 54 years to figure it out. You have time. And in the meantime, just be the best mom/wife/realtor/whatever you are at that time. You are doing a wonderful job (at ALL your jobs) and I'm so proud of you! I love you.

  7. I agree. I think it's human nature to look for ways to define ourselves....I am a mother, I am a writer, I am a rebel (all are true, btw). I'm not just ONE thing...I am many. I don't want to be limited by any of my labels. But I also find freedom in claiming them. Thanks for your profound thoughts -- timeout is over. You can come out now!

  8. Flexibility is key! Conditions and circumstances can change in an instant. Thanks for stopping by.


Yes! I've been there, Claire!