When Are You Truly A Writer?
I often asked this question of myself when I was coming up through school. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a famous writer, weaving my tales of adventures for all those who would have an ear to listen. Often I am asked what made me want to pursue the all of the madness that writing entails. I am here to answer that. When I am writing, I am not merely throwing words on the waiting page. I am the wordsmith, striking the hammer against molten steel, bending its reality to my will. It is an effort. It is a passion. All of my intention pouring through the end of a pencil point, weaving letters into words, words into sentences, and sentences into a living breathing thing. You see my characters are genuine to me, and when the pen drops, so they. I might be a published author, and that is all fine and good, however, what am I between one closing snap of my laptop and the moment when the light of my burning candle reaches those aching keys one more. I put this very same question to my friend and editing professional, Greg Prescott. He agrees with my attitudes toward writing and being a writer. "You are only a writer ... when you are writing." What an epiphany! He goes on to say "Many people go on and on about how they want to be a writer. Nine times out of ten that is all you hear. But do you ever see them get down to the nitty-gritty and get any writing done? No. And, that is not even counting the amount of research needed for what they intend to throw down on paper.
In the end, it all hinges on what motivates you. I was like so many others, so full of myself, calling myself a writer. Saying you are a writer does bring you a small measure of respect. Writing can be a Herculean task in its so many contexts. My advice to you is to find out what your motivation is. Maybe you are the kind of writer that merely needs to set a clock and force yourself to hit those keys or grind that lead to the paper on a regular schedule. Maybe you need to give yourself 30 minutes everyday to surf the web for ideas to write. Perhaps, you set a daily word count goal, and you promise your mouth a slice of key-lime pie as your reward. What is truly important in the end is that you, "Just write."
Therefore, you must remember. No matter what you keep calling yourself, the reality is this. You are only a writer when you are writing.