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I have written for years -- mostly poetry (when I was younger and had more angst) and an unpublished novel.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 So, I s'pose being an unpublished writer has its perks too.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 One that sits unpublished, collecting dust.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 images....in 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!
I AM A WRITER.
What are you at your core? Who are you really? Do you have something you need to claim? DO IT!
Have you been there?