A question I’ve seen asked time and time again is, “what makes a person a writer?” I’ve often pondered this myself.
People often think a person is only a writer once a book is published and in hand, or once the first sale has been made. I think most authors would tend to disagree with that assumption.
There is a lot of hard work that goes into taking a story from your head and putting it to paper (or in this day and age, a screen). It’s not just getting an idea and typing it out and then voila, it’s done – no, no. You can get the main plot written out, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s still a long ways from completion, and getting it on the bookshelves.
You want to build on the story that is in your head so that it becomes a gripping masterpiece that your readers will love. That takes time, patience, tears and research.
There are characters to develop, plot holes to fill, descriptions to perfect. You want to build on the story that is in your head so that it becomes a gripping masterpiece that your readers will love. That takes time, patience, tears and research. When I get involved in writing, I often go into my cave and don’t come out until whatever part I’m working on is done. This can take hours, days, or weeks. Sometimes, when the ideas just keep flowing, the story basically writes itself in some parts – and this is a very exciting part of the process. My characters come to life and tell ME how the story is going to go!
Aside from the actual writing, there’s the build-up of an audience, the anticipation of a release date, and connection with fellow writers and readers. The marketing aspect can take even more effort than the story itself – but it’s all a part of the overall process of developing a book.
But the question remains – do you have to do all of that first, before you become a writer?
Finishing the first draft of a novel is a huge accomplishment for me. It’s a goal I’ve had in the back of my mind for 25 years. There are times where I don’t feel like a writer yet, because I haven’t quite made it to the finish line – my finish line – being published, and having the general public purchase, read, and love it.
But the long and short of it is, a writer is a person who writes. I don’t do it because I have to, I do it because I want to. It’s a calling. It’s a passion. Whether or not people buy my book isn’t the measure of worthiness of the title “writer,” or “author.” I already am a writer. I already am an author. I write stories. I create plots, worlds, characters. It’s fun, and I really enjoy it. You don’t choose to be a writer – writing chooses you. As a writer, you choose whether or not to share your stories.
So at the end of the day, a writer is one who writes. That’s all there is to it. The measure of success is up to each individual writer and what their goals are
A reader is one who buries their face in a make-believe world (and I love that!); a writer is one who shows their face, and that’s a big, scary step when you’re first putting yourself out there. I’m an introvert, by nature, so taking my stories from something just for me to sharing it with the world is a major advance in my personal journey to success. It’s bearing my soul to others. It’s allowing myself to be vulnerable.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life,
every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”Virginia Woolf
Pam Allyn, literary expert and author, once said “Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out.” When I finished my debut novel, I took a huge sigh of relief, knowing that I had accomplished a decades-long goal and that the next step was getting it out there, into the hands of readers. Hoping that it is well-received.
That is what I call “the writer’s exhale.” In between the point at which you finish the writing of the story and the point at which you take the steps to publish it for the world to read. It is a privilege to get to that point.
That, my friends, is what makes me a writer.