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?
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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.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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