you make me blush

Y’all gave me some of the nicest compliments evah! I got some of the sweetest comments and emails I’ve ever had here yesterday. I don’t know why that embarrasses me, but it does.

Here’s the thing, a couple of you called me a writer. I’ll take that as a huge compliment because I definitely don’t view myself as a Writer with a capital W. I know I can put a few coherent thoughts together, I know the rules of the English language, (whether I follow them or not!) and sometimes I get a creative thought. However. I’ve never aspired to write for a living. Somehow, to me, a writer is someone who makes money with their work, or at least has the will and potential to do so. Am I wrong about that?

Just by virtue of blogging, does that make me a writer? I don’t think so. There are many real writers who use blogging for practice, to hone their skills, and really it’s a perfect platform for it. Feedback is essential to a writer, and what better way to get instant feedback than a comments section? But that doesn’t mean every blogger is a great writer.

Most of the really good writers I know can’t not write. It’s part of them, part of their soul, and from what I can tell, they feel something akin to withdrawal symptoms when they don’t do it. I, on the other hand, could go for weeks or months without writing anything, and it wouldn’t bother me a bit.

Writing a little fiction is something I’ve dabbled at in the past, but have never been serious about. I discovered something about myself as I’ve done it more often this year; I’m really a better editor than a writer. Just like with photos. And I’m okay with that. I know one of my talents is having an eye for a great image, though not usually through my own lens. On paper, my talent is seeing how the words can be rearranged to make them sing. But when I try to edit my own writing, a haze shadows the page, and I can’t see it for what it really is. I’m okay with that too.

Anyway, this makes me wonder, how do you define a writer? Is it anyone who writes anything, or must you have a true passion for it? Does a writer need to be making money from it, or just be good at it? Do you have to have pure talent, or just perserverance to make it great? Or all of the above?


9 Responses to “you make me blush”

  1. katie ~ motherbumper on January 10th, 2009 7:47 am

    How do I define writer? That’s a difficult one. When I was crossing the border to attend a conference with another blogger late last year, another blogger I consider a writer (as so many others). When the border guard asked me what I do for a living, I hummed and hawed, while she shouted out “YOU’RE A WRITER”. I cringed and whispered confirmation that “yah, I’m… I’m a … writer” . Then that blogger who I consider a writer, well we spent the next hour debating that exact same question. And guess what? We didn’t resolve it by any stretch of the imagination. She thinks of me as a writer, I think of her as a writer, but I would never in a bazillion years, consider myself a writer. She told me to get over myself 😉 And here I am, still without a definition.

    That didn’t help one lick, did it?

  2. katie ~ motherbumper on January 10th, 2009 7:47 am

    wow – obviously I need an editor and proofreader but I think you’ll understand my comment above 😉

    katie ~ motherbumpers last blog post..fluffy minutiae in thirds

  3. Stimey on January 10th, 2009 9:39 am

    Looking at what you do, at what you write, at how compellingly you write, I’d definitely call you a writer. There’s a reason we all keep you in our Google Readers.

    Stimeys last blog post..Mother of the Year, Part IV

  4. Blogs, Badges and Bullshit on January 10th, 2009 9:40 am

    […] everybody who’s anybody is blogging about blogging lately, and other blogs are blogging about all the blogging about blogging, I’m pretty sure […]

  5. bejewell on January 10th, 2009 9:42 am

    I think of writing in the same way. I think of a writer as someone who makes their living with the written word. But then, I make MY living on the written word, and I don’t think of myself as a writer. At least, not in the truest sense of the word. Hell, I don’t know. Now I’m confused.

    bejewells last blog post..Blogs, Badges and Bullshit

  6. AndreAnna on January 10th, 2009 10:24 am

    I have NO idea.

    Helpful, huh? 🙂

    And I think you’re a great writer.

    AndreAnnas last blog post..Some friends

  7. Auds at Barking Mad on January 10th, 2009 5:03 pm

    I have no idea how to define it. I think, just by virtue of the word itself, there are many different definitions, especially by those who call themselves one.

    I define myself as one because it’s just something I have ALWAYS done. I don’t think you have to make your living by the pen (or as it were, computer), in order to call yourself a writer, although someone will come along and say that you can only define yourself as a successful writer once you’ve been published. I think that’s crap. I know several writers who are amazing and successful but have never rocked the NY Times Bestseller list. Others not only define themselves as a writer but let their writing define them. Does that make sense?

    And by the way…my comment from the other day stands! You know the one I’m talking about! 🙂

    Auds at Barking Mads last blog post..Why? An Open Letter to the Vomit Faerie

  8. mrs.chicken on January 10th, 2009 10:52 pm

    First off, thank you for the compliment. I am in fine company, to be listed by you with such good wordsmiths.

    For me? Writers write, whenever, whatever, because they can’t not.


    mrs.chickens last blog post..Who’d A Thunk It

  9. mumma boo on January 11th, 2009 9:56 am

    Good question! The first time I read your work, I thought “writer”, not “blogger”. I agree with Mrs. Chicken and I’ll take it one step further. If you write because you must and to not write would be denying a part of you, then you’re a writer. If you get published in print, then you’re an author. 😉

    mumma boos last blog post..Honesty Is Such a Lonely Word*

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