Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Tell if You are a "True" Writer or Not

This week I was blogging over at Sia McKye's Thoughts Over Coffee blog. The idea of what makes you a "true" writer came up. A lovely follower noted that they must not be a "true" writer because... (insert reason here.)
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we look for the definition of a "true" writer?
I hate this question. I hate that some people say you have to be published by one of the big six to be a "real" writer. I hate that others say you aren't real until you make $X. So what in my opinion makes a "true" writer?
A writer writes.
That's it. It's that simple. Ask yourself, do I write? If the answer is yes, then you are a writer. It doesn't matter if you have to clean the house before you write or if you have to write when everyone else is in bed. It doesn't matter if the grammar is bad or the story-line doesn't hold up. It doesn't matter if your dialog is off key.
We all have our different ways of doing things and we all have the ability to learn. So what makes a writer? Someone who writes. Some writers are list makers. Some writers are poets. Some writers are slogan writers. Some writers are journalists. Some write for money. Some write research. Some write short stories. Others write novels or songs. All in all if you write, then you are a true writer.
Now that that is decided, the next thing to ask yourself is what are your personal goals as a writer? Do you want to write a short story? Do you want to write a song? A poem? A jingle for a product? Do you want to write fan fic? Do you want to write a novel?
How do your goals as a writer fit into your lifestyle? Having trouble finding the time to write? Ask yourself why- are you afraid of failure or success? Are you afraid to give yourself permission to take time to meet a seemingly frivolous goal? Or are your writing goals too big for your current life?
Whatever it is~ you have the power to change it. Fear of failure? Tell yourself you're only writing for fun and don't show it to anyone. Not until you want to or are comfortable. There is no rule that you have to have your work read to be a writer. Fear of success? Take the writing day by day Today I will write a page. I won't worry about hitting the NY Times list or doing appearances. Fear of taking time for yourself? Tell yourself that "Everyone" will be happier when you are happier and writing makes you happy. Adjust your goals to match your life-don't let yourself be pushed into something that doesn't work for you.
So here is my question: are you a writer? Did you write today? Did you want to? Do your goals need to be adjusted?
If you are a writer- even a writer of lists. Give yourself permission to play with it, to have fun with it. Life is too short to not be who you are or to try to live up to other people's expectations or definitions of who you are. Now go and write~ even if it's only to comment on my thoughts. Cheers~


Charlie said...

I'm a writer because the characters I create hang out in my head waiting for stuff to do. (Like the final seconds of Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine.) I've created scenarios for imaginary folks since I was a kid...

At least I think they're imaginary.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Charlie, lol~ I can't tell you how many times I've said..."At least I think they're imaginary."

Thanks for sharing~ Cheers!

Marlene Samuels, PhD said...

Nancy- I stumbled upon your website & associated blog by lucky accident after your name popped up on my Facebook page: "people you may know". I'm also a writer, one constantly plagued by that old question: how to tell if you are a true writer. It was the same one that made it to the top of our discussions at a recent AROHO (A ROOM OF HER OWN FOUNDATION) retreat at Ghost Ranch, NM. I'm thrilled I found your blog, but especially that I encountered your sage advice. Clearly, I'll be back to visit and signing on as a follower! I do wonder whether all who write worry about how to determine if they are real writers or if women who write worry a bit more? Hope you'll visit my very new blog, . Thanks again! Marlene Samuels