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You Know You're a Writer When...

I got f***ing questions, pal 😁 .

By L.C. SchäferPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - September 2023
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You Know You're a Writer When...
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It all comes down to this: Q1 - What is a writer?

I've been wondering this lately.

More specifically, Q2 - What's the difference between a person who writes things down, and a Writer? With a capital W.

Maybe it's moving beyond that first draft. If you just jot down an idea or story or a few rhyming lines.. well, anyone can do that.... right?

Surely a writer is someone who cares deeply about the written word. Enough to change them, polish them. Possibly ironically, then, a writer is someone who edits.

Someone who notices how they think and how they write.

Some people think, "I will know I'm a writer when..." and measure it by success. They say (or think) things like,

I'll know I'm a writer when...

  • When I've been published (Vocal does/doesn't count, delete whichever is inappropriate)
  • When I've published a book
  • When I've been traditionally published.
  • When I've won a writing contest
  • When I've earned money from my writing
  • When I've earned [insert arbitrary amount of money here] from my writing

Q3 - What's the line, for you? Is there one? Are you (can you be) a writer by declaration alone? Can you just feel like one, in your heart and your bones?

Almost anyone can write. The world must be more literate than ever. Many people spend as much time "speaking" with the written word than with their vocal chords. Hardly anyone writes letters anymore, but surely these have been outstripped in volume by messaging apps and social media.

Have you got a teenager in your house? Your average teenager is a perfect example. They can go a week barely stringing ten words together, and their teacher has to coax written words out of them like drawing blood from a stone... Put a glowing screen in their hand? Suddenly they're Mr/Ms locquacious, their thumbs waxing lyrical.

Aren't we all a little like that?

Rhetorical: How many words does that same teenager need to write before they're considered a Writer? Q4 - Or is it care that matters, not the volume of words written?

What if you love writing, and you care about the written word a great deal... But you never write? I know a couple of people who call themselves writers... and they never write. Which brings me to Q5 - Is it possible to be a writer who never writes?

Can you be a swimmer who never swims? A jogger who never jogs, a singer who never sings?

Q6 - Is it talent that counts? Flair? and if so... how is that measured? Surely not by success alone?

Tricky to pin down, isn't it?

Q7. Do any of these ring true for you?

You know you're a writer when...

  • you have to stop what you're doing right now to jot down that juicy idea before it escapes
  • you both love and loathe people reading your scribbles, especially people you know
  • you've been gripped by it - a type (ha!) of euphoria almost, a ferocious taloned muse that won't let go, that pours words through you on to the page.
  • at least once, you've read back what you wrote in that near-frenzied state and almost died of how hard you cringed

Q8 - Do you have any to add?

And finally.... Q9 - What do you think? Do you call yourself a writer? Do you feel worthy of the moniker? I hope so (!) but if you don't, what's it going to take?

+ + + + + + +

ENDY WENDY

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Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment so I can reciprocate

I don't expect anyone to answer nine (9!) questions, I'm not a monster. Pick one that resonates and tell me what you think, I'm nosy.

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About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Flexing the writing muscle.

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for "nudes".

I'm also on Twitter if you'd like to connect elsewhere.

I value feedback, and reciprocate reads and comments.

Also writing under the name S.E. Holz

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  • Jenifer Hey2 months ago

    An essay is a form of written expression that provides individuals with a structured means to convey their thoughts, ideas, and arguments regarding a particular topic or subject. It serves as a vehicle for communication, allowing https://washingtoncitypaper.com/article/604229/college-essay-writing-service-how-to-choose-faq-our-top-5/ authors to present their insights, conduct research, and offer analysis. Essays come in various styles, such as narrative, descriptive, and persuasive, offering a diverse range of tools for conveying information and viewpoints. Whether exploring literature, science, or personal experiences, essays are a fundamental medium for intellectual discourse and communication.

  • Teresa Renton2 months ago

    I think you pretty much covered all there. People often attach labels related to the thing they do for money, but if no one earned money from what they do or like to do, how would they define themselves? I think I started to say I’m a writer, when someone left me a personal voice message, thanking me for something I wrote (poem I think),because it really helped them with grief. It was so heartfelt and lovely that I thought- I’ve helped someone, so damn it, I’m a writer 🤷‍♀️😂

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    I wrote a long reply...Sorry! My aunt and uncle love Bob Dylan. Like, are obsessed. I once got into a convo with them about Dylan and Paul Simon, as I resonate more personally with Simon than Dylan, though I adore Dylan immensely (who couldn’t?). One thing they said was that Dylan is a true artist and poet because he doesn’t have to work for ideas, for lyrics; they just come to him. And Simon, well, he has to sit down and focus for that flow. But I wouldn’t say he isn’t an artist or poet; he just has a different approach. Both guys are inspired, talented, and SKILLED, too. And they never stop. I think of writing (non musical writing, that is) like this. I do think that if you aren’t interested in the craft, why would even WANT to call yourself a writer? The passion must exist in some capacity. On the other hand, I find it hard to imagine a writer who loathes what they do, but continues because of the money; you have to love it when you’re poor, and keep going. Of course, I’m thinking of literary writers. Convention-heavy writers...Eh. I think if your work can be replicated with AI, you're not a real writer. You harness writing for money. And comedy writers for shows tend to be motivated by "exposure" so they can pivot. So, are they really writers at heart, or are they using the medium as a stepping stone? So: passion and muses. I guess that's my basic criteria. I will add, I don’t think you can call yourself a writer when you don’t ever write. The interest might be there, but passion? Is it passion if you ignore it? And the muses? I think if you ignore them long enough, you stop hearing them.

  • Tonya2 months ago

    I love this. I feel like you have to put thought into action to become something.

  • Jasmine Aguilar2 months ago

    I found this extremely relatable! Often times, as writers we tend to question ourselves and our abilities so much!

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    All good questions and I relate to many of these. I cringe when I ask someone to read my work, but tingle when my phone pings to tell me someone left a comment on Vocal. I believe because we put thought in, it makes it writing.

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    Nice work on your leaderboard placement L.C. 😊🎉

  • Thowhid Miah2 months ago

    Very nice to read .why you don't make me friend

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    In the past I’ve had to write notes down then and there & that is a good feeling. I also like getting lost in the flow of writing but that rarely happens lately. I don’t know if I think of myself as a writer..more so I’m working on my writing so I can get better at it. Many interesting ideas here L.C. Thanks for sharing yours. 😊 Congrats sent on your top story too! 👏

  • Carol Townend2 months ago

    I'm a wr)ter because I like to write, and edit (when I remember!), polish my work, create stories imperfectly, and just write!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    I do feel like I have graduated from, wannabe to actual Writer. I find myself stopping what I’m doing to jot down ideas often. Even if I’m having a conversation with my boss, I sometimes drift off into make believe land. And as of lately, “the polisher” has been my middle name. I’ll read a story a dozen or more times before I publish it. I loved everything about this article. Thanks for sharing.

  • I am many things, writer is one. You are a writer when to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and keep the result because you are happy with it. Some excellent questions and answers

  • Margaret Brennan2 months ago

    When I was a teen, my mom encouraged me to write down my thoughts and try to make them into stories. I never stopped or looked back. I do have one book published (ever went anywhere but hey, it's in a book form) and I've won many poetry contests. So, does all this make me a "writer" or an "author"? Something to think about.

  • Kenneth Lawson2 months ago

    I've always been a storyteller. I've never had my doubt that I was. Whether I was actively writing or not, was another matter. One can call them themselves petty much whatever they want. One can put words on a page, and call it a story. I know someone who tried. But alas she putting words on a page did not make a story. She tried but no matter how I coached her, she could never quite get it. For me, There is a Zone, where the words just happen, like Blood from a stone. I find the words that make up a story that I didn't know I was telling. As a Pantser, I never know what the story will be until it's on the screen. For me, The Opening Line is more than just the first line in a story. It's like opening the door into a world I didn't know existed until it appeared on the screen. That is a writer, someone who can make worlds appear on the screen almost at will.

  • MC Wills2 months ago

    Very clever! I really enjoyed this read. These days you can call yourself anything you want. It's not about who you are, it's about who you feel you are.

  • You brought up so many good points here! Really loved this, really made me think! It is a tough thing to pin down. I used to not say I was a writer because I thought it sounded cocky to say that since I hadn’t had any success. But then I realized, all the people I think of as a “writers” have had varying levels of success. So it’s not like that was something that was so important, for there to be a particular amount of success. Why not very little success? And then how is success measured. I think I’m a writer because I write and because I can’t not write. Because I don’t just jot down ideas and leave them, I turn notes into something more. Anyone can jot down their ideas, turning them into something more is something different. For Q2. Maybe the difference is people who act heavily on the things they wrote down. Q3 and Q4. It is care that matters. It’s effort. It’s creation. It’s steps two and beyond, not stopping at step one. I think. Q5… hmm no. Not never haha Q6… I think no. You can have varying levels of talent. Q7… ALL ring true for me. Hm, I answered quite a few questions I must have done alright on my quiz. But again, this was great! You raised a lot of real thinkers in this piece.

  • Rakshit Shah2 months ago

    Q5 made me laugh so hard, although it might seem paradoxical or not possible. Writing may be part of one's identity, even if it's not a daily practice. Life circumstances, writer's block, or other factors can sometimes limit actual writing but not the essence of being a writer. Hahaha!

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    I just called myself a writer, and thought of this. It was for the purposes of a limerick though.

  • Poppy2 months ago

    This was really thought provoking. A lot of question 7 ring true for me. I think I already consider myself a writer but feel like I need to have a traditionally published book before I can call myself an author. I love the endy Wendy but😂 that’s great. Also congrats on top story

  • Jenifer Hey2 months ago

    An essay is a written piece of work that explores a specific topic, idea, or argument. It is a structured composition https://www.clevescene.com/sponsored/the-best-essay-writing-service-2022-independent-review-39279903 comprising an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Essays serve various purposes, from expressing personal opinions and experiences to presenting well-researched arguments and analyses. They are widely used in academic, professional, and creative contexts, helping individuals communicate their thoughts, convey information, persuade readers, or tell stories. Effective essay writing involves clear organization, evidence-based reasoning, and coherent presentation of ideas, making it a valuable skill in education and beyond.

  • Mond Bell2 months ago

    first I want to congratulate. Nice writing skill. If anyone is interested in gaming then you can read mine :https://vocal.media/gamers/the-power-of-gaming-4716h008v

  • Naveedkk 2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story, L.C.! So well deserved!

  • Naveed2 months ago

    That was some fantastic writing! I enjoyed it immensely.Congratulations on your Top Story,🤦‍♂️😙

  • Sid Aaron Hirji2 months ago

    I feel you are a writer when you can write a story using code. Like a story using say animals as symbols of abstract ideas

  • JBaz2 months ago

    Damn fine question: If you write words with meaning or some substance behind it, you are a writer. I think the real question we need to ask our selves is "What type of writer am I?" Published financially successful Write for fun share work with others keep the writing to ourselves. content I think many can be considered writers just what category of writer are they? Congratulations

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