Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What makes you a writer?

Who is a writer, someone asked the other day. I have no answer. Is a writer someone who writes for a living, or someone who cannot live without writing?
Who should I write for, someone asked today. Should she write for publication, or write as her heart tells her to? Again, no answers.

I write because I want to tell some of the stories waiting to be told. But I haven’t yet learnt to write for an audience. That makes writing my passion, but I am not sure I can call myself a writer.

Thoughts? What makes you a writer?

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.


Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - I think your question gets the heart of how we define ourselves. I would say that, in fact, you are a writer. You have stories to tell, and you tell them. People who write, whether they write novels, short stories, poetry, newspaper articles, magazine articles or scholarly work - or something else - are writers. Notice I didn't say anything about doing this professionally. That's because, to me, a writer is a writer before s/he ever sells her or his first piece.

To me, the essence of being a writer is defining oneself that way.

Mason Canyon said...

I agree completely with Margot. I think she explained it quiet well.

Thoughts in Progress

Talli Roland said...

Good question! I think anyone who writes because they feel the urge from somewhere within them - for whatever reason - is a writer.

Tina said...

Great question. I call myself a writer because it's something that I yearn to do. Extra half hour? Spend it writing. Whole day to myself? Writing. I'm not published professionally, but as a high school student several pieces were chosen for literary magazine published by the school district. Hooked me big time. A writer is a writer if they say they are. No other qualifiers needed. Margot said it well.

Cruella Collett said...

I've spent six years at university getting various degrees so that one day I might call myself a historian. But in reality what I identify myself as is a writer. So there you go. Self-definition is key.

Love that you've been doing so many drabbles lately. And happy birthday "somewhere in the world if not yet here"-time ;)

Clarissa Draper said...

My dad and I both consider ourselves writers however, there's a big difference between my father and I.

I write and he doesn't. He has ideas... lots of them. But he doesn't do anything with them. I think most people want to be a writer. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because they've never tried it.

Most real writers - ones that have studied the craft and write on a regular basis - know how difficult it is to really write.

Rayna, do I think you're a real writer? Yes. Because you write.


KarenG said...

The first times I tried to call myself a writer OUT LOUD the words stuck in my throat. It was easier once other people started saying I was a writer. Same with calling myself an author. Once I was published I still couldn't say I'm an author, until other people said it about me. Now I have no problems with it. Weird how that works.

Beth Zimmerman said...

I remember the day that I saw my blog linked on Jemi's List of Author blogs and it moved me. I'm still not sure I will ever write a book that will be put into print (and make me rich?) but I am a writer. I write every day because it is what I do and I love it. And somehow in some little, or maybe not so little, way ... my faltering words make a difference to someone ... whether I see that effect or not!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think a writer can be both things - professional and passionate.

Southpaw said...

A writer is anyone who writes wherever it is for a living ro just for fun, in a journal, fictional tales or reference books.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Another wonderful drabble. Enjoyed the read.


Jen said...

A writer is someone who takes the time to tell a story, short, long, whatever the heart desires you are writing and one day hope to write with others, that's what makes you a writer.

I've written one novel and that made me believe I was a writer, not a published one, but a passionate and fun loving writer, that's what it's really all about. You believing you're a writer.

LTM said...

Hi, Rayna! I was directed here by a Nekkid Tart in Michigan... ;p
Love your post. I'm a "professional writer," I guess, since I'm published weekly in the local paper and in a local magazine. But I don't think I'll feel like a "real" writer until I see my first book. That's new, too. Not sure why I feel that way now. I guess it's because of what you said about writing from your heart and telling stories that must be told. Up til now I've only told other peoples' stories.
Anyway, glad to "meet" you... I'll be back! (in a NON-Terminator, going to shoot up your blog kind of way, of course. ;o)

Ellie said...

A writer is someone who has to write and continues on this path, until THEY publish him or her-NO!

A writer is someone who weaves magic with words, sometimes, has an audience that appreciates them and loves the craft.

Being published is icing on the cake and some dough in the bank account!

Jemi Fraser said...

I think being a writer is part of our personalities, it's us taking part in the process, not a result of the process.

Saumya said...

I think a writer is anyone who derives pleasure from the act of writing!

India Drummond said...

I think a writer is someone who writes. Simple!

slommler said...

The strong urge to share yourself, your ideas and your stories in words. To be a writer is a calling, not a task.

GutsyWriter said...

Wonderful question and I like Clarissa Draper's response. It took me almost three years before I no longer said, "I'm a writer," with a shy voice.

Watery Tart said...

You're a writer! You're driven to it and it is part of your identity...

You are ALSO a BIRTHDAY GIRL! Happy Birthday my Thursday Twin!!!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Margot - I love the clarity with which you define a writer (but then I love your clarity in everything). And yes, I do agree that writing professionally doesn't have to be a necessary qualification for being a writer.

@ Mason - she has, hasn't it?

@ Talli - I guess all bloggers are writers, in that case.

@ Tina - that is the best definition of a writer, isn't it? Whether you consider yourself one or not.

@ Cruella- and I mean it when I say that one day I know I am going to be telling people I knew you before you became famous.

@ Clarissa - I guess your father is a lot like I was till five years back. The imagination in place but the actualising not done.
Interesting point you make about how difficult it is to actually write- yes, and no. If you are a serious reader, I think writing would come naturally to you. But maybe I think that only because it comes easily to me.

@ KarenG - I know exactly what you mean. Very few people I know in real life even know that I write. They often tell me I should write, but nobody suspects that I do.

@ Beth- something like that is a good awakening, isn't it? And yes, your words to make a difference to people- they have to me.

@ Alex - that would be the ideal combination, wouldn't it?
I personally believe a person should only do what he is passionate about, or at least be passionate about what they do.

@ Southpaw- writing equals writer, that seems to be the equation.

@ Yvonne- thank you.

@ Jen- it does all boil down to your own belief, doesn't it? I am in all likelihood trashing my first finished novel, but having finished it, I dare call myself a writer when I go to bed at night.

@ LTM - thank you for dropping by. The Nekkid Tart is my Twin, and she's done more to convince me that I am a writer than anyone else.
And the blog is Terminator proof - I have two boys and home, and got them to check it out ;-)

@ Ellie - I loved the bit about it being the icing on the cake

@ Jemi - never really thought of it that way. Now I will to see if it fits me for size.

@ Saumya- that is perhaps the simplest definition there is, and in that case, both my kids are writers too (even though one cannot even write).

@ India- it is, isn't it?

@ SueAnn - I have to agree with you. I know I write because I need to find and outlet for my stories.

@ Sonia - I know exactly what you mean- I am not sure I will ever be able to call myself a writer in public.

@ Tami - and you are one of the people who has made me start thinking of myself as one, the dearest Twin anyone could have.

Donna B said...

I really like what Margot said. I've "secretly" thought of myself as a "writer" as I have kept journals for forty five years! Just this past year started getting really serious and blogging. I suppose I thought I was not "officially" a writer until I sold a book. But, it is true, one has to be a writer long before getting ones words published.

Happy Birthday Rayna...we are June birthdays...and I DEFINITELY think you are a very talented writer.

Great thought provoking post.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Donna - I know people who write books for a living, but (a) don't get any pleasure out of it, and (b) are not particularly good at creating magic with words.
Would they qualify as writers? I think not.

And yes, June birthdays are the best!!!!


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