A writer writes.

It’s an affirmation that I’ve been using to spur myself on for quite a long time now.  Sometimes it works, and gets me into a frenzy of fiction.  Sometimes it’s as dead in my mind as I feel my characters are on the page.  Regardless, it’s the one truth that’s given me quite a bit of motive to move on in my writing.

I want to be a writer.

I am a writer.

To continue being a writer, I need to write.  Some days are harder than others.  This is a difficult post for me to write (due to some serious insecurities about my writing, both quantity and quality) and so it’s a bit difficult for me to articulate, but let me stand back and take a breath… and try again.

Writing isn’t about getting paid to put your work into print.  It helps boost morale, of course.  It’s fun to think about.  Fantasies abound about what it might be like to live as a paid writer, sustained off of writing alone.  Terrifyingly unlikely for most of us.

Someone handing you a check because you wrote something doesn’t make you a writer.  Putting your soul on a page, giving others a part of yourself through the pieces you work hard on, writing to make yourself happy makes you as much a writer as anyone with a contract.  It isn’t about integrity or income.  It’s about what you have it inside you to do.

A writer writes. I hope that affirmation will give other amateur writers the confidence it’s given me (periodically.  I’m only human.  =]).



Filed under Life, Writing

8 responses to “A Writer WRITES

  1. Erin M


    It’s true: You don’t have to be a professional to call yourself a writer. You have to write.

    At the same time, don’t beat yourself up if it isn’t constant. (Like, “Oh no, I didn’t write anything today . . . or yesterday! I’m not a writer anymore!”) Even if you’re not actually writing fiction (or whatever) every day, so long as you’re observing, maybe taking notes, thinking about stories, arranging written or imagined words, that’s equivalent to practicing. I mean, a concert pianist, a mountain climber, an auctioneer, an . . . any type of person isn’t (necessarily) doing “what they do” every single day. Everybody deserves a vacation =P

    Sure, being a writer isn’t like being a sister — it doesn’t happen by default; it’s an occupation (even amateur) and you have to do it to be it.

    But there are times when a writer needs to be other things, to recharge. Of course we’re all other things. But we don’t stop being writers when we’re doing something else. That probably seems really obvious, and you’re like, “Yeah, Erin, I know all this! Jeez!” But I just wanted to share, because I know I was stressing myself while repeating the “A writer writes” mantra, worrying that if I wasn’t writing right then, I wasn’t a writer.

    I read a really good post . . . let’s see if I can find it . . . that offers another point of view on the “a writer writes” quote.


    You can skip the first two paragraphs of that if you want; she talks about other stuff first.

    . . .

    That got a little long. I meant it to be helpful and encouraging, not pedantic. O_o

    You are a writer. =]

    • That post was really enlightening and helpful. Thanks for sharing it. =] I think my problem is the exact opposite (while still tying in to) of the one she proposes, but one that one day should meet hers in the middle.

      She says a writer should have other experiences, and be something other than a writer, and that is absolutely true. I have no argument for that whatsoever.

      My problem is that, to be a writer, I need to write something. Maybe not experience less, but write more. I’ve gotten myself into a boring little cycle of outlines, half-stories, character sketches, clustering, and idea-blurbs, but very little actual writing in the last year – year and a half.

      I guess her post + my post = some apparent major tail-chasing. XD I will keep it all in mind, though. Thank you for the encouragement. <3 =]

  2. Are you my emotional twin? This is something I struggle with every day, too. I try to remind myself, like you, that if I want to be a writer, and I write, then I am one. The fantasies are kind of hard to deal with for me, though – not because of them, really, because I know that they’re just fantasies, but more because I’m scared of getting stuck doing something I despise in life and that I stop writing… Ah, the lovely insecurities of humanity. Fun. NOT.

    Thank you for this post. I’m glad to hear that you’re working on the issue, and will try my best to totter along in your wake as well!

    • I think of that ALL. THE. TIME. “What if I get into doing something for really good money and I hate it but can’t leave and don’t have time for writing anymore?” BLAAAAH.

      Maybe we are emotional twins! In which case, I’m so sorry, because I know I’m kind of a basket case. XD

  3. jesseowalls

    A writer writes…true, I suppose, but deep down inside a writer is really a dreamer with a story to tell, a person who listens and learns, and a person who observes and experiences. If you’re not inspired, the words are not going to magically come, and thus forcing yourself to write is only going to lead to lackluster characters and a less than interesting storyline. If you don’t feel it, the reader is not going to feel it. Taking a break from writing is not a bad thing, and sometimes it is necessary if we want to reach our full potential. To constantly push yourself when you have no inspiration will only exhuast the resources of your mind, and then when inspiration does strike your resources will be depleted. (I think that last sentence made sense…I’m not sure) Anyways, what I am trying to say is that there is a certain balance to writing, at least in my opinion: write when the mood strikes and observe and experience in your down times. By maintaining this balance you will not push yourself to hard, and when you write you will have a wealth of material to draw from. Anyways, this is just my thoughts…thought I’d share.

    • I agree, but I still feel like I’m chasing my tail sometimes. XD “I should write SOMETHING” is pretty much the basis of my issue. I’m WAY too distract-able. My attention span will be all “YAY! Let’s write a b– I wonder if there’s anything bitchin’ on The History Channel right now…..”

  4. AS IF ON CUE!


    You have to check this out, guys. Freshly Pressed has great timing. XD

  5. Some days *are* harder than others. The main thing is to keep plugging away at it…

    But! That said, don’t fall into the trap of berating yourself every time you miss a day because of family stuff or other things. That whole “Writers MUST write EVERY day” adage is a load of crap. Sometimes family, work, etc. have to take precedence.

    And that’s okay.

    Sometimes “shit happens,” and do you really expect to sit down and write your obligatory pages in the midst of a family crisis or hospital emergency?

    It’s okay to miss a day or two here and there.

    Because the true writer never *really* stops writing — even when they’re not in the chair, at the desk, typing or scribbling away on their work, they’re thinking about it, talking with their characters, musing over plot points. In the depths of their own mind, they’re still working on that piece.

    So who cares if it’s going to be another day or two before you can sit down and type it all out? :)

    And re: the worth argument, so long as you are happy with your work, that’s all that matters. Write for yourself first. No one else matters at this stage in the game (I’m guessing you’re on a first draft??). It’s kind of like that old saying about “You must love yourself before others can love you”… Same thing with writing. Write the best thing you can, and be proud of it. :) No one can take that from you.

    …Gee. I didn’t mean for this to end up so long, but….

    And, Thank You for the link-juice! :) It’s much appreciated!

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