Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am a Writer

Writer - [rayh-ter]
- a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., esp. as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.
- a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing: an expert letter writer.
- a person who writes or is able to write: a writer in script.

Recently, I've been thinking about whether I should consider myself a "writer".

Someone like my friend Beau is most definitely a Writer. He makes money writing, is published and has even won some awards. He essentially fits the definition of "writer" many of us first think of when we hear that he or she is a "writer."

(Beau - winning an award for your Virginia Tech piece is karmic recognition for most eloquently stating what many of us were thinking and couldn't quite put together. Thank you.)

Then there is my friend JP - who writes very complicated novels and still won't submit them to the public eye. To my knowledge, only 2 people on the face of the earth has read his material. Me and one other friend. He considers himself a Writer. He works very hard on his craft - drafting over and over again until a sentence reads perfectly. Would you consider him a Writer or just some guy who writes?

Then there are folks who write things like instruction manuals and the like as part of their job. Would you consider these folks Writers or just folks who write?

Then there are the bloggers. Do you consider yourself a Writer or just someone who blogs?

I've been asked a few times whether I consider myself a Writer. My response has always been "If you define writer as someone who performs the act of writing, then yes. We all are to a certain extent. Otherwise, no." But if I look at the situation coldly, I guess I can claim the title for myself.

I write as an important part of my profession. I write in the public eye (through this blog). I've been published at least once. I even get recognized for my writing on occasion (wish I could find the post thanking the 10 people who voted for me for some best eLearning blog award whose name I can't remember). On really good days, I'll even agonize over my sentences.

I guess that means I'm a Writer.


Unknown said...

'I've been published at least once.'

Erm, wondering what this reveals about your preconceptions. I'm assuming that you mean published-on-paper. Because, from where I sit, you publish regularly in a global space, right here.

Like you, my writing style often attracts comment. Friends who read my 'irregular periodic roundups' which get distributed via email (since my readers declared the family blog to be a territory into which they were scared to venture for fear of dragons and other bogeymen on the wobblywobblywobbly) often ask me when I'm planning to write a book. I wonder why my electronic writing isn't enough - why does it have to be backed up by a book for me to be considered a writer?

I'm a writer, too, I reckon.

Wendy said...

And therein lies the question. And the shift that is occuring.

Do we have to go through the formal publication channels anymore?

Who's to say how we ought to identify ourselves? Do we require that level of validation?

Just some navel-gazing that I had to get out of my system.

Warning to all - it gets worse.....

Anonymous said...

My business card says, Sr. Researcher and Writer. Who am I to argue?

I think this conversation will got down the 'what is art?' road. What is writing? Well, it depends who's writing and who's reading.

Wendy said...

Very easily. And I wonder if that is where the "education as profession" conversation may be heading too. Again, just navel gazing.

Anonymous said...

When you start agonizing about semicolons -- and you will -- run.