How Do You Define Yourself As A Writer?

Hi, I’m a creative and imaginative dreamer? Really? Sounds like you’re a bum to me.

Why can’t we get away with introducing ourselves via our talents? So often we define ourselves with jobs (teacher) and relationships (father of a wonderful daughter). Think about it, we even describe kids by their age or station. My daughter is 4 and a half, about to enter Kindergarten. Not a word about her personality at all.

As writers, we particularly suffer from this. I know that I do. I’ve published a non-fiction book and multiple short stories, yet why do I often feel like I’m not a “real” writer yet. Why? Because I don’t have that elusive “novel” published. It’s frustrating because I know I am a writer. I write. Every day. But it’s those accolades that we yearn for.

Perhaps we should all loosen up a bit. Let’s be what what we do. I write. Ergo, I’m a writer.

Nuff said.

Tim Kane

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7 comments on “How Do You Define Yourself As A Writer?

  1. Dana Staves says:

    Thanks for this post! I went out to breakfast with my girlfriend and one of her co-workers and his wife. He asked me about my job (adjunct professor at a college, but also, yes, writer) and I assumed he meant teaching. He stopped me at some point to explain to his wife, “Dana is a writer. She writes for a food magazine.” Dana is a writer. Not “Dana is a teacher who writes all she can while waiting for a book to come out of it.” Dana is a writer. I was surprised, which my girlfriend called me out on. “Were you surprised to hear someone call you a writer before teacher?” she asked. Yes, I was. But I liked it. I relished being called a writer, even if I don’t necessarily feel like one. This post articulated that moment much better than I could.

    • I thought about it again today. I could be a painter without having a gallery opening. So why do I need a published book to be writer? Odd.

      • Dana Staves says:

        Very true. I think we struggle against the distinction between a hobby and a vocation. The reputation that comes with artistic endeavor is that it’s not lucrative, so it’s a hobby, and should be treated as such. But when you work at it, everyday, and send it out into the world and make it a part of your identity, relegating it to mere hobby status seriously short-changes the real worth of that endeavor.

  2. sean mcalpin says:

    that is actually one of the most difficult things for me as a writer, the introductions at social gatherings. the mindset in our society is not ‘who are you?’ but it is ‘what do you do?’
    great article.

    http://seanmcalpin.com/

  3. If you are what your eat, maybe you are what you ‘say’ also. Anywhere I’m asked to give a ‘bio’ it says ‘Word Junkie’. But, everyone who knows me, knows I’m also a nut.

  4. […] manuscript is not a rejection of you as a person or as a writer. Tim Kane delves into the question How do you define yourself as a writer? And just to confuse the issue of “what kind of books do you write?” Susan J. Morris shares how […]

  5. This is a great post, and an issue I hope to actually have to struggle with some day, many, many years from now, most likely.

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