To begin I should say that when I published yesterday’s post — my first ever! 😉 — I really didn’t expect a second post this soon. I was just experimenting with WordPress and trying to figure out how things worked around here. A real, live, honest-to-goodness BLOG was something to be worked on gradually, down the road a bit. You know. “When I have the time.”
Well, “stuff happens”. And stuff happened with that first post.
Someone actually read that first post, and even commented on it! As the incomparable Wallace Shawn so perfectly put it in The Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!” My heartfelt thanks to that first reader for her very gracious comment and suggestion. It was her suggestion that sent me back to my keyboard for today’s post.
Yesterday, I referred to myself as a “wanna-be” writer. Her suggestion was that I not call myself a ‘wanna-be’. “If you write, you are a writer!” was her comment and I agree wholeheartedly with her. However, though I agree with her comment, I also must say my self-description as a ‘wanna-be’ writer was accurate.
The seeming contradiction in the preceding paragraph arises from the lack of a common understanding of the term “wanna-be writer”. It is a term that we see often, but one which has different connotations for different people, and likely even different definitions. Here is what the term means to me.
There are some (many?) folks out there who want to be a writer. They want to be John Grisham, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, J. K. Rowling, or George R. R. Martin. They would like to be rich, famous, successful authors. Many would settle for just seeing their names in print as a byline on a magazine article or story. All too often, these people spend a great deal of time reading about writing, talking about writing, thinking about writing. However, they spend little or no time time with their bottoms planted in a chair putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard actually writing. In my estimation, these are the ‘wanna-be writers’.
And for some time now, if I am honest with myself, that is exactly what I have been doing.
It was some years ago that I decided I wanted to see if I had what it takes to be a writer. I began taking some classes and discovered that writing is both art and craft. The craft part includes many techniques that can be taught and learned as with many other crafts. The art part of writing requires talent. I know of no way to teach or learn talent. I stopped worrying about whether I have any talent quite some time back when I discovered the pleasure of simply writing. And I WROTE! I was a WRITER. I planted my butt in a chair and I put words on paper. Looking back over things I wrote years ago, I can see where I slowly honed my skills in the craft of writing.
As mentioned earlier, stuff happens. And stuff happened with my writing. I got up out of my chair. I stopped putting words on paper. And I stopped being a writer. I spent a lot of time reading about writing. I spent a lot of time talking about writing. I spent a lot of time thinking about writing and wishing I was writing. But I did NOT plant my butt and write. I became a ‘wanna-be’ writer.
It has been more than a year since I honestly sat down, planted my butt, and wrote. The good news is that I have decided to again plant my butt and put fingers to keyboard and words on paper. However, I am a cautious and somewhat skeptical person. Two days does not a writer make. Ask me again in a week. If I have added a few thousand words to my primary novel, if I have revised and submitted a short story or two, if I have drafted a new story, I will proudly tell you “I am a writer!”