I’ve thought a lot recently about what it means to be A Writer. Not so much about writing as about being a writer.
Sometimes it seems that being a writer means having something – anything – published. And having something published is good, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve come to the conclusion that for me being a writer is, above everything, about writing. If I’m not writing I’m not A Writer. And more than that I’m not me.
There are courses that encourage you to only write the best you can write, or to write morning pages every morning no matter what, or to send everything you write out to magazines/publishers/agents.
These things can work for some people. I’ve tried various routes – only writing when I feel inspired, going over things I have written until I’ve edited them to death, writing a daily journal, writing only fiction. And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter exactly what approach I take – as long as I’m writing. Mostly in the morning, mostly every day, mostly fiction – but above all writing all the ideas and stories that are in my head. Sometimes I can’t think my thoughts until I’ve typed them. Weird I know - but true for me.
One thing I’ve learnt is to let myself write what I want to write. I may have an outline I’m working towards, and that can help – or it can be ignored. I may have no idea what I’m doing. But strangely as soon as I put pen to paper or fingers to (icy) keyboard, I realise there are words there waiting to be written down. Sometimes I can make something pretty good out of them. Sometimes they just make me smile and aren’t to be shared. Sometimes they are complete rubbish. But that’s fine. They’re mine and they’re an experiment in this writing life I lead.
The conclusion I’ve reached is that if you don’t write, you aren’t a writer. So the answer is – write! Try and do a little every day. A little may turn in to a lot, or may not, but it will still be something.
And if you’re like me, your life will be a little richer for doing it.