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Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Redefining Myself

As you know, this weekend I was in Wisconsin for a wedding.  During the treacherous seven hours of hair and makeup before the wedding, I had time to discuss writing with my dear friend Rory (she's with me in the last picture on Sunday's post).  For a few months, Rory's been talking about writing an erotic novella, and I've been encouraging her along the way because, well, it would be fantastic to know someone else who's writing and whose phone number exists in my cell phone.  How great would it be to be able to discuss writing in person, or at least using my own voice?  At the moment, this is a great fantasy of mine, so of COURSE I was going to encourage her.

Apparently, though, over the course of the weekend, and evidently due to many things I said, Rory has decided to give up the novella.  Of course this saddens me greatly.  I don't write erotica, but it might be fun to live vicariously through her sensual vision. *blush*  But, if it's what's best for her, then of course I support her decision.

The part about the whole situation I find...  Well, I must be a horrible writer since the only words I can think of are "odd", "surprising" and "inspiring", neither of which seems to really capture what I'm feeling.  Anyway, this is what she wrote in a recent blog post:

Though I imagine she'll in no way want to hear this, my friend Rosie played a big part in my half-ass epiphany. While were were hanging around being bridesmaids, she said several things which convinced me, "This is what a writer sounds like—this is someone who writes for lots of reasons, all of them better than mine."

She then mentions my dreaded editing that I had brought with me, and how I picked a model from a magazine and said the woman looked like my vision for one of my characters.  The reason I find this odd is, I find neither of these (or the other examples she mentioned) out of the ordinary.  I had never considered how this might make "a writer".  It surprised me because she's known me for more than a decade, and she's certainly never had cause to consider me "a writer" before. 

The inspiration from all this is to push me to live up to this new label.  Well, it's not new to me, and perhaps it's not new to you since I have introduced myself to cyberspace as a writer.  But Rory is someone who knows me beyond the blog, and has known me through many reinventions of myself. To have her consider me "a writer" makes me want to push myself even more to live up to the expectation.

What makes a writer "a writer"?  It's more than the simple act of putting words on paper.  What is the quintessential trait someone needs to be "a writer"? 


PS—If you somehow don't know about it, WriteOnCon is this week!  Get over there and check it out.  It's an amazing wealth of information right at your fingertips (well, only if you touch the screen...).  I posting my first five pages of The Monarch's Lies in the YA critique section.  If you've also posted something for critique, leave me a comment so I can find it.

12 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

I always view someone as a writer when they're serious about the craft and it's more than an occasional hobby. This doesn't mean that they're published or wish to be published, but that writing seems to be in their blood. They can't help it. They must write.

Heidi said...

I agree with Medeia - writers are writers when they're serious. When they have to write because the words keep welling up inside of them. Persistence has a lot to do with it, as well.

Michelle. said...

ditto ditto
I have to find pix of my characters because I write what I see in my head and pix help. I seriously need the visual props.

I know that writing takes many forms, some of them (like say speeches or text books) do not interest me in the least, yet those forms are just as much a part of their creators as my fiction is. For me, I became a 'writer' when I discovered that I could take the crazy little ramblings that were in my head, add my heart and soul to it, swirl in just the right words and expression and come out with something that others could love as much as I did. I guess for me a writer is a story teller. And being able to share those stories with others is a gift. I feel honored to have been given the gift and it helps me be OK with the fact that I can't cook. :) Great post, as usual!!!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

To me we're really not writers until we've been published.

A counselor is not a counselor, despite the many courses he may be taking, until he receives his degree and begins to counsel.

We are paying our dues, honing our craft, polishing our manuscripts.

We are apprentice writers, not oaks yet, merely saplings. We must continue to grow, sink our roots deep into the soil of effort, discipline, and imagination. After months of struggle, we may produce a novel. When it is published, then we are writers.

Just a thought. Roland

Talli Roland said...

Interesting question! I'm not really sure - but I think it's someone who works hard, keeps going with their writing, always wants to learn and improve and doesn't give up.

Hart Johnson said...

I think being a writer is a decision. When I was younger, I journaled... I liked to write, but I wasn't a writer. My decision to actually put in the time necessary to finish a novel made me a writer.

I think though, that in my early stages as a writer, I didn't grasp the editing thing either--I would have found that daunting... I was under the impression is was 'a little cleaning up'. It sounds to me like your friend maybe just isn't ready yet. Maybe suggest to her she try some short stories... it isn't the same kind of commitment, so she can test the waters. I've got a friend (my only local, in-person writer friend, oddly enough) who writes erotica, so if Rory decides to, I can help you hook them up. (or see my sidebar for the Bed Wench)

I don't think publishing is necessary to be a writer. Publishing makes you an author.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

For me, a writer is someone who explores the craft of creative writing. I think the important labels to consider are "hobbyist" verses "aspiring author." I agree with what Roland said, to a point, except I'd say a writer is anyone who writes, and an author is someone whose work has been published.

Your friend should enjoy writing they way she does, even if she remains a hobbyist, without letting labels dissuade her from the joy she gets from it.

RosieC said...

Okay, trying this again. Twice now I've tried to respond and gotten error messages, so now I'm promising myself I will copy this before I hit submit. Anyone else having problems with Blogger today?

Medeia, it really comes down to passion sometimes. Or an addiction? :)

Heidi, persistence is also key, or constantly trying to improve your craft.

Michelle, I'm also a visual and aural writer. I need pictures and music and voices as aids in understanding characters more deeply. I also like using writing as an excuse to not cook well! I've been looking for a good reason for years :)

Roland, I suppose I don't fit into your category, but I do still consider myself a writer.

Talli, the desire to keep learning and honing the craft is so important, as is not letting a couple of rejection letters get you down.

Hart, great point. For years I didn't write and never could have called myself a writer, but I think I'm one now (I hope :) I'll let Rory know about your friend. I still want to encourage her, I must say, but when she makes a decision, it's etched in diamonds and it's hard to get her to change her mind. I'll send her the link for the Bed Witch, anyway (and check her out myself :) Thanks!

Nicole, adding the labels does help make the distinctions. Hobbiest-writers don't have to be the same as published writers. I will try to persuade my friend again, though I'm not sure how much she actually enjoyed it *shrug* Not like that would stop my encouragement :)

Lynda Young said...

Writers are not only those who are published, but those who want to be publish and are doing something about it.

Amanda Sablan said...

I think a writer is just someone who thinks about their craft a lot. You're a writer if, while reading something or watching a movie, you overanalyze what's going on and think how it could be better, or what you can do with your own writing.

Helen Ginger said...

Writers write. They also believe they are writers. In order to be a writer you must believe in yourself.

Helen

RosieC said...

Lynda, the difference between the hobbiest and the yet-unpublished writer certainly is whether or not the writer is doing anything about it.

Amanda, I did that through the entire last book I read. I felt a little guilty, but I couldn't help it, either.

Helen, faith in one's self is definitely vital, though not just for the writer, of course.

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