Am I a writer? It’s a question I’ve heard that we all as writers ask ourselves at various times along the way. I write every day. Maybe not on my WIP (work in progress) but I do write every day in one way or another. Does this make me a writer? Well, yes and no, in my opinion. I could write every day and not be what I would deem “a writer,” because writing can be, and usually is, actually should be a part of everyday life. We need to write at work, we need to make “to do” or “to buy” lists at home. We need to leave a note for the spouse that our book just sold for six figures so we’re flying directly to New York in the morning for a shopping spree and he’d better be ready. Writing as a form of communication is a basic right, not to mention “need,” that we have in our society. I am aware that some people don’t write, but if they don’t, their aunt down the street does and it’s sure she helps them out from time to time. Even if others are only “texting” they’re still using words to tell their cousin and best friend about the dress sale on at Old Navy. So, these people are writing, but are they “writers”?
I write novels. I have written five and have three more in my head. As a full time writer I am at work almost every day revising my fifth novel in hopes it will actually be published. I’m out of love with it right now, but the story stays in my head daunting and formidable in how much it lacks, my characters pester me because I’m not quite hearing what they’re trying to tell me. The issues that need to be solved to make it real, solid and readable for others are eluding me for the moment. I slog on knowing, or at least having faith that, soon, I will have that epiphany that allows me to shift gears and move on from this painful place of stagnation and petulance. In this sense I am a writer. I live with my characters, good and bad, for a long time in my head and on my computer, whether I like it or not. I try to find words that bring life to the story, that show these people in ways that are entertaining, informative and interesting. This is the “work” of writing. This is the frantic, head-achy aspect of putting words to paper/screen. But the frustration also produces the reward, the satisfaction of a creation complete; the joy of having listened and learned and watched the story bloom like the proverbial flower from bud to fruit. When you sink your teeth into the juicy part and taste the sweetness of a finished product, it makes all the pain worthwhile. So if a definition of being a writer is something resembling the above description, then yes, I AM a writer.