My publisher sent me a message a while back asking that I continue to write. He said, “You’re a wonderful writer and you do no service to yourself, Literature or anyone by saying you’re not going to write.” I did write after that message — long after. I finished two of my started books — Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare and Unfinished — but I still have one decade-old story that’s languishing. Someday I hope to finish it. Someday I WILL finish it.
I had added “writing” to the list of daily resolutions I’m trying to get a head start on, then I took it off.
Anyone who writes is, of course, a writer, though it used to be that “real writers” were chosen by faceless editors working for megacorporations, but now there are many different roads to publication.
It used to be that money made a writer. If you earned your living by writing, you were a writer. Sometimes it was acclaim by the self-appointed literati that made a writer. And sometimes it was fame that made a writer. But mostly, it was sales. Money.
It still is sales that make a writer . . . to a certain extent. I know many so-called writers who toss out a book they wrote in a month with little editing, and people buy the books for some unfathomable reason. (Unfathomable to me, anyway.) I know other writers — excellent writers who actually have something to say, who work at their craft, and who write the best book possible no matter how long it takes — who have few sales.
So what makes a writer? Since writing is basically a form of communication, perhaps readers make a writer. And I have readers galore — on this blog, anyway. Some of my posts have had more than 10,000 readers. (But, keeping things realistic, some of my best posts had less than 10 views.) Maybe it’s the ability to touch people’s lives through words that make a writer, and that I have done by being willing to open up and tell the truth about my life.
And if telling the truth about one’s life makes you a writer, then simply living until hit by the urge to put that life into words, is also writing.
What it comes down to, then, is I do not need to resolve to write. Whether I write or not in any given day, I am still a writer.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.