Monday, September 20, 2010

Do You "Own It?"

I stumbled across a fellow blogger's post yesterday and found it intriguing. She didn't have it up for long, deleted it not long after she posted it. But she posed a very good question: Do you own it? Meaning do you tell others you're a writer, even if you are pre-published?

She listed the reasons why she doesn't feel comfortable stating to others that she's a writer, even though she has an agent. I get it. I think a lot of us feel that way--mainly because we are NOT published yet. But is that really what makes a writer? At what point do we say, "NOW, I'm officially a writer." Is it after getting an agent? Or after holding a printed book with your name on it in your hands?

The answer is probably different for everyone. But here's my thoughts.... I am a writer because a write. I put words down in the form of a story and ask people to read it. In my mind, this makes me a writer. Am I published? No. Agent yet? No.

But I still write.

Now, if someone decides they want to take a stab at writing and write a story, but then never continue afterwards for whatever reason, does that make them a writer? My answer would be no. I've tried playing golf once before, but does that make me a golfer? No.

Quite simply, a writer is someone who writes stories, articles, poetry, etc., and continues to do so again and again because it is the basis of his/her existence. It is a crying plea from the depths of her soul, struggling to get out in the form of words and stories. And maybe we have faithful readers, maybe only betas right now, maybe only dear old mom takes time out to read our stuff. But the point is that we write because it's who we are. If we persist, we may become successful at it.

Perhaps there are writers out there who don't care about being published. Does that mean they are NOT writers? No way! Think of the famous authors whose work didn't become successful til after they died. They still wrote.

So if someone were to ask you what you do today, would you tell them you are a writer along with whatever your day job is, parenthood, etc? I hope so.

I would. I can say it with all confidence, that I am, in fact, a WRITER. How about you?


Catana/Sylvie Mac said...

Yup. If writing is an important part of your life and you actually give your time and energy to it, then you're a writer. We wouldn't dream of saying that Emily Dickinson, for instance, wasn't a writer until her poetry was published. And whether you write well or badly isn't even relevant, because the world will decide that.

E.J. Wesley said...

To me, it's the difference between being a writer and an author. In my line of thinking, being an author means you've published something in the world at large (whatever format) with the intent of letting others read/judge/interpret it.

Writing is simply putting words on paper to tell a story (again, whatever format). If you do that regularly, then I believe you can/should call yourself a writer, even if not-a-soul has ever read it.

Writing is the vehicle that makes becoming an author possible. You can be a writer, and not an author, but not an author without being a writer.

M.L. Mansfield said...

I have an extremely hard time with this. Not many people even know that I'm working on my novel. My husband and a handful of friends do, but that's it.

I understand that if you put words on paper than your considered a writer. Maybe it's just that I've dated so many guys in high school who were "writers" or "poets" and their stuff was.... well, garbage.

It's easy to slap a title on yourself but I feel the real way to earn being called a writer is having someone else acknowledge it.

PK Hrezo said...

Interesting thoughts, guys. I knew everyone had their own take on the label. It's a very personal issue, I'm beginning to realize this.

Perhaps, the dedication to improving your craft makes you a writer... not just the fact you put words down. Persistence, dedication, along with humility.

Florence said...

For so many people, the thought of ... coming out of the closet and declaring ... "I am a writer" is terrifying. It's as though ... once you say it people will ask ... "Yeah, so what have you published?"


No, not yet. Still I am a writer and when it was only in my head and I didn't have the courage to declare myself, I was a writer.

We are the tellers of tales and magicians with words.

Good thought ... great post :)

Regina said...

I am just now starting to "Own It!" But I am still a little backward about discussing what I am writing. I save that for my beta readers.

Summer Ross said...

I own it, just last night my Manly man was very sick of me owning it as I was keeping him up late :)

Serena said...

what a great post! Its totaly true. I am learning slowly to own it. To know that just because in the past i write throw it away thinking what do i know im not a writer i alwasy go back at some point to write more it is part of who i am, I think therefore I am right!?
really enjoyed this one Thanks for sharing!