Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who's a Writer?

I have been writing for years. A very, very long time. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 12 and I wrote poetry, short stories and essays that I'm glad will never see the light of day. At 15, I also started my first novel. It was horrible, a comic book trying to be a novel (post apocalyptic superhero story). That was 15 years ago. I never finished it. Then I started writing a different novel. An epic fantasy trilogy, actually. :-D And I did finish that one. And I still have it. (No, you can't read it. No one will *ever* read it. And that includes me.) I even got critique on it. That could have been a much more painful experience than the critter made it. He was very kind and his gentle nudges helped me learn a lot. He read the whole first book. I can't blame him for not moving on to the second.

I've written a lot ever since, in a bunch of different areas and about a bunch of different things. A few short stories have been published, I even make a small income writing articles, but none of that made me feel like a "writer." Oh, I called myself a writer, and I wrote, and I even got paid for it, and still... I didn't really *feel* like a writer.

And then this year everything changed. A great friend brought up the subject of self-publishing, and some of the work I'd put into my writing started to pay off. Not in money, but in forward progress. My novella Getting Ahead (trolls, and carjackers, and mad bombers, oh my!) was accepted by MuseItUp Publishing, I decided to self-publish A Sign in Blood, and even my pagan writings are heading for publication.

And now I wake up every day and get down to business, and I feel like a writer. It's the momentum, I think, the forward progress. But it's not unusually for writers to work on that for years and years. I know a lot of writers who sit down every day and pound out the words, tired, and brain-fried, and they still put their butts in the chair and do the work. And yet, they don't feel like writers. Some are even published, but it's as if there's this invisible finish line that keeps moving. We all have some particular goal that will, we hope, finally make us feel like this is more than just a hobby.

The thing is, if you're pounding out the words, if you're putting your heart on the page, even if you can't manage it every day, or you don't reach your goals, or you haven't been published...

You're a writer.

Take moment and enjoy it. What makes you feel like a writer? What one piece of work makes you the most proud? Link me! Take a moment to brag on yourself!

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3 comments:

Mysti said...

To actually have written an entire novel, have it published and had people really enjoy reading it!

That's what made me realize I'm actually a writer. I'll always be child of God, wife and mom before anything else, but writing makes me feel like me.

And when I get those "aha" moments after I've banged my head against the wall trying to overcome plot snags, boy does that feel good!

One of my critique partners has a tagline--successful writers write, so consider yourself a success today. It's doing it and enjoying the outcome (not always the frustration), but like everything else worth doing, it takes work. And it's worth it.

Ryan Sullivan said...

Like Mysti, I always tell myself that my goal is "to actually have written an entire novel, have it published and had people really enjoy reading it".

I'm not there yet . . . and I haven't written properly for half a month, but I keep coming back to this one, and I swear I'll get there someday.

Soon.

Marion Sipe said...

@Mysti - Oh, I love those "Aha!" moments! And when you're writing and you're seeing everything actually come together under your fingers. I love that, too! It's totally worth it.

Congratulations on the book, I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good things!

BTW, I didn't know you were from Kentucky! (Until recently, obviously.) I grew up in the Newport/Bellevue/Dayton area (Basically, all over Northern K) and some of my family still lives there.

@Ryan - You will, just keep writing! :-D I like to sing that to the tune of "just keep swimming" from Finding Nemo. ;-) Good luck, and keep at it!