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.
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.
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.
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?’
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.
[…] 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 […]
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.