Writers write, right..?

Source: freedigitalphotos.net

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

Last month I posted a question over on Facebook, asking fellow writers when/whether they felt comfortable calling themselves writers. The responses were revealing…

My self-confident side says I can call myself a writer as I fulfill the only necessary criteria which is… that I write. However, as I am not paid to write, my insecure side says I shouldn’t REALLY call myself a writer because real writers get paid
Maddy, Writing Bubble

“It wasn’t until I had a book published and gave up the day job to write everyday that I felt like a writer.
Amy Beeson, Wordsby Commuications

I call myself a writer, but only very quietly when people are not really listening.
Judith Kingston, judithkingston.wordpress.com

The reason I asked this is because although on some level I’ve always known I was a writer, I never referred to myself as such until I was getting paid to do so. Bizarrely, I did refer to myself as a poet once I’d had some poems published and was regularly performing at spoken word events… But not a writer. Now that just doesn’t make any sense.

One of the reasons I held back from calling myself a writer for so long was because I kept hearing that “writers write every day.” I have boxes full of notebooks that go back years but I have never written every day. In fact, I’ve often gone long periods when I’ve written very little at all.

I have never written every day

Those who claim the need to write every day explain that the more you write, the more you write and that we need to practise our art. I agree on both counts. However, I don’t believe that taking a break is a bad thing. Everyone is different and for me personally, writing every day becomes a chore. I need those times in between to recharge my creative batteries by doing something else… And often find that this ‘downtime’ fuels my creativity and allows seeds of thought to develop so that I return refreshed and bursting with creative energy and ideas.

Writing is not just (sometimes not even) what I do. It’s who I am

I know I’ve always been a writer. There were times I didn’t allow myself to believe it because I spent too much time listening to other people’s ideas of what that should look like. But I know myself better now and I know that this is who I am. It’s as much a part of me as my brown skin, my curly hair and the birthmark in my eye. I can’t change it and wouldn’t want to. No matter what life throws at me, whether I get paid for it or not and even if I never write another word (highly unlikely!) , I am – and always will be – a writer.

Are you a writer? Is is as much a part of your identity as it is mine? Or is it just something you do…? Please do comment in the box below, or even join the conversation on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!

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14 responses to “Writers write, right..?

  1. maddy@writingbubble

    Great post and thanks for the mention! I think – like you – writing is part of my identity. I always wanted to be a writer and wrote a lot as a child and in adolescence. Then throughout my twenties I wrote virtually nothing while I was trying to work out what to do with my life! Having now gone back to writing (and I can’t ever imagine abandoning it again) it sort of feels like it was there all along. Like a latent part of my identity. But was I really a writer when I wasn’t writing? You’ve got me thinking now…

  2. I say that if you write, you’re a writer. No other qualifications required. I hypocritically don’t apply this to myself, since what I do is not writing – it’s scribbling or dabbling. Not proper grown-up writing, just some stuff and words.

    There are negative connotations to saying you’re a writer since “writing a novel” has been used as an excuse for laziness by people who are not, in fact, writing a novel.

    All of the writers I have met through blogging and noveling are writers, without a doubt. It’s the ambition and drive, the sensitivity, the intelligence and the need to write present in them that makes them writers. Questioning this in ourselves is exactly how writers behave.

    • “Questioning this in ourselves is exactly how writers behave.” So true…! It’s taken me ages to come to where I am now and I still doubt the quality of my work sometimes… But we don’t get flowers without a bit of dirt do we? 😉

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I’ve grappled with this one a lot over the past couple of years, having gone from the nice, concrete role of ‘teacher’ to the somewhat less tangible ‘stay at home mum who writes loads but hasn’t yet worked out how to get paid for it’. I had a flash of confidence when I was working on the first draft of my second novel when I changed my Facebook career status to writer. It got a lot of likes, but I’m not sure I believe it quite yet 🙂 And yet I blog pretty much every day and am working on novel number three… Ho hum x

  4. Yes, writing is something that is a part of me. I might not actually always write physically, but I have ideas and thoughts constantly whirring around my head. I can’t stop them from coming and to be honest, I don’t want to either 🙂

  5. I can relate to this post a lot, and feel the same. I didn’t actually realise that I had always been a writer until having a recent conversation with a neighbour about my book. Then it dawned on me that I kept a diary throughout my teens, travel journals when I was away and have been blogging since 2010. I’ve never called myself ‘a writer’, but I might start doing so 😉

    • Well I’m calling you a writer… You write, do you not? And you write well. Also… You have a book out! So you’re not only a writer but a published author… How can you not call yourself a writer..? 🙂

  6. I call myself a writer quietly because I know that at the school gate it sounds a little bit other worldly to use that description and people might give me funny looks (not that they do!). I’ve always done some sort of writing so my job description has often been a ‘writer and something else’. Maybe once I’ve written five books I’ll call myself a writer properly!

  7. In my head I called myself a writer but would never say it out loud. I still feel coy about it now, but I always gravitated to the writing roles in whatever job I did and I feel most comfortable now that it’s what I do for a living.

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