Most scribes, both literary and poetic ask that very question of themselves and often come to the same conclusion. They say to themselves...
- I'm a real writer if... I'm published by a real publisher.
- I'm a real writer if... I have an established platform.
- I'm a real writer if... I've written a bestseller.
- I'm a real writer if... I'm a celebrity.
- I'm a real writer if... I dress nice - professional attire.
- I'm a real writer if... JA Konrath mentions me in his blog.
King and Koontz are exceptional at what they do, but that doesn't mean you're not a real writer!
I've written 4 novels, 1 short story, and another awesome work in progress. Yet on more than one occasion, I've asked myself if I have what it takes. Am I the real deal? And yes, at different stages of my writing journey, I thought all of the above statements were true. I have now come to believe something very different.
Here's what I think...
I think the expectations we've put on ourselves have come from a bunch of crusty old arrogant literary professionals who are more concerned about the almighty dollar and have forgotten what writing is all about. Therefore, like all things, the definition of a real writer is changing, and should change.
Here's my List of 10 Qualities That Define a Real Writer
- A real writer is someone who writes because he has a love for words.
- A real writer has an innate appreciation for what it takes to create a story and put it down on paper.
- A real writer loves books.
- A real writer loves creating with his right brain.
- A real writer enjoys constructing a new story that no one has ever read and then puts his mind to it and sees the project through.
- A real writer sits quietly in his bed or chair or couch late at night or early in the morning or during his lunch hour penciling in the tedious details that breathe life into his or her story or poem.
- A real writer writes because he loves it.
- A real writer writes just to read his own words.
- A real writer jots down silly phrases or jokes or poems in a notepad.
- A real writer smiles when she hands her teacher or professor her paper, while the others walk away sad and gloomy, overcome by the intricacies of indenting and completing a full sentence
You see... real writers are the ones who love writing because they can't help it. If you don't love it - you will never be a real writer. You may have a lot to learn. You might improve with each effort, and never feel like your last work was your best. You might get bad reviews at first. But don't we all?
Writing is a journey, and in it, writers find themselves. They discover who they are and they tell the world what they know. Writers should not be judged by book sales, or who their agent or publisher is. They should be judged by their passion for the pen. And that passion, over time, will generate sweet sounding prose. Yet one does not have to be a master craftsmen to be a writer. He need only be an artful practitioner, who at the end of the day, looks at what he has created and smiles.
Do you know anyone struggling with their writorical self-image? Are you? Please comment vigorously, share your story, and share this post with all your reading and writing friends. They might appreciate the truth and learn to differentiate between real writers and those who are cherry picked by the Big 6. BOOM!