Monday, December 14, 2015

What Makes a Writer

Lately, I've started considering myself a writer. I know, with almost 200 blog posts, wouldn't I have considered myself that a bit earlier? So, I started thinking about what I thought a writer was, and when you can consider yourself a writer.

Creativity

I used to think that creativity was  a must when it came to being a writer. In my everyday life, I don't really think about myself as a terribly creative person. I can't draw or paint very well, and I'm not great at designing things with my hands.

Then, I think about what this blog was originally designed and named for, to give a glimpse into my crazy, strange thought life. For instance, the other night I woke up from a dream in which a kitchen appliance made an appearance. No ordinary kitchen appliance, this gadget could cook an egg and make coffee at the same time! It also had a separate insert if you wanted to make applesauce or apple butter (don't ask me why).

So, maybe I am a bit creative. Unfortunately, along with creativity I got a few of the less desirable brain functions such as an easily addictive personality and mild depression.

Fortunately for me, and thousands of people around the world, creativity is not the only thing that makes up a writer. There are plenty of writers who don't need a huge portion of creativity. There are technical writers, business writers, non-fiction writers, and any boy band ever.

Perseverance

I have a hard time with sticking to something. Jobs, schedules, blog posts. So, for a long time, I felt like I couldn't be a writer until I "finished" something. So all my untold stories and half-finished novels meant very little, because I knew it was statistically unlikely that I would finish anything.

Again, this is true to some extent with writing. But, I no longer think that you have to be published to be a writer. Especially in today's world, where you can self-publish with a click of a button, finishing something actually doesn't necessarily make you a writer (at least not a very good one).

Experience

Another idea I had about writing was that I lacked some life experience to be able to write about certain topics. When I didn't have kids, I wondered how I could write about that. Now that I do have kids, I just wonder how I can find the time to write about anything!

The truth is, looking back, most of the stories and ideas I had back then (before the my vast years of "life experience") were spot on for the most part. I maybe missed a few themes here or there, but my overall ideas were better than most of what I've come up with recently.

So, experience isn't a must-have either, although it's definitely a great thing to have on file.

Just Writing

So, what does make a writer? Just continuing to do it. Plugging along, whether it's working on a half finished novels, a half dozen poems, or your 200th blog post. I think of myself as a writer, not because I have some magical qualities and mystify everyone, even myself, but because I have been and continue to write. My brain is now trained to come up with blog post ideas. I've started writing new poetry again (it had been awhile). My brain still has crazy thoughts and ideas that will never come true, so I just put them down on paper (or the computer screen).

So keep at it. Whether you're a good writer or a bad writer. Whether you're creative or technical. Whether you're published or have a handful of readers. Whether you are young or old or anywhere in between. Whether you ever finish that novel or not, is not as important as sitting down and putting your ideas down on paper. Just get out there and get started.


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