Today was my day at the Second Wind Publishing Blog, and I posted an article entitled: “What Do You Call an Unpublished Writer?” If the truth be told, it’s a reworking of a bloggery I wrote over a year ago, but back then only a few people read it, so it’s practically brand new. What is also new (or rather eternally fresh) is that particular question, and it got me to thinking how only in the arts do people categorize themselves by their aspirations not their jobs. How many self-named actors in Hollywood or New York are restaurant workers with a few bit parts on their resumes and a head full of dreams?
It seems that writers, even more than actors, struggle with this identity. When do we become writers? When do we become authors? When can we call ourselves professional writers or novelists? It seems there are many steps on the path to becoming a writer, or at least to being able to call ourselves writers, and we have all sorts of definitions to prove that we are writers and other lesser beings are not. A writer writes — always. A writer has a compulsion to write. A writer . . . well, you get the picture. I have never been able to use such adages to define myself. I don’t write always. I don’t have a compulsion to write — it’s a choice.
I do know one thing, a writer does write some of the time. If a person has a novel in their head but nowhere else, that person might be a storyteller (not a bad title in itself) but not a writer. As for the rest of it, does it matter? Perhaps on the internet, where we are whatever we say we are, it makes a difference, but when we are alone with our words and our stories, we are simply being. Not being writers, but being the creat(e)ures we were meant to be.