It’s easy for many us to answer the question, “Oh, what do you do for a living?”
Some of us say, “I’m a stay at home mother. I’m an accountant. I’m an artist.” And the person asking the question smiles and doesn’t bat an eye at the response. Any very well, all these responses could be true when it comes to describing myself to others. However, could you imagine if I stood there and told someone, “Well, I’m a full-time wife and mother. Part-time I work as an accountant and the other part of the time I’m a writer. And, sometimes I like to make my own hand bound books and other things.”
I think that person would stand and stare at me, if not their jaw might sag slightly. But if I were to say, “I’m a writer.” They usually give you that knowing nod and say something like “Oh, that’s nice.”
So what really constitutes being a writer?
Well, if we looked it up in a dictionary we’d find some boring sentence of explanation like:
A person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, ect., especially as an occupation or profession; and author or journalist.
I kind of like this one a little better:
A person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, ect., to writing.
Several years ago, when I first starting ghost writing articles for several websites, I wasn’t sure what constituted being a writer really was. Some said it was being published, some said it was just writing something…
I don’t remember where I read it, but basically it said, “If you believe you are a writer, then you are.”
When I was twelve I wrote a letter to a publisher from the inside page of a book I’d finished reading. In that letter I asked the publisher how it was that writers could go about getting their writing published. You can imagine my dismay when I received a letter back telling me they did not accept unsolicited queries. I was twelve. I didn’t even know what a query was. I just knew I’d written a story and I wanted it to turn into a book.
In the past, getting a book published was a lot like winning the lottery. Only a select few were chosen by publishing houses.
Today, getting published isn’t as simple, but the lottery chances have turned a lot more into the writer’s favor with self-publishing options. This is where many writers don’t have to ask themselves if they are writers, but struggle to know if their work is good enough to put out there. Many are just to impatient to wait several months to receive responses from agents or publishing houses. And there are those who simply don’t want to be disappointed, like a certain twelve-year-old girl who rued the day she’d show that mean ole publishing house that she would publish her book without their help.
There are many ways we can constitute ourselves as being writers. You don’t have to be published to be a writer. Perhaps your writing is private, like in a journal. Perhaps your writing is letters to others you’ve missed or wish to encourage. There is no press to represent letter writing.
There is however hope. There are groups of writers, authors, and poets. There are books on every subject imagineable and good reads yet to come. There are articles, poems, books, lists, words — all written by someone.
Being a writer is being yourself and utilizing a gift that not everyone is given.
And I suppose it is time for me to get back to doing just that.