Recently a friend did a very good blog on comparison. He talked about comparing our creative output with others can kill our creativity. He made an example of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the possible down side of the event. I’d never heard of NaNoWriMo (which, according to another blog I read, means I’m not a serious writer) before I saw another friend blogging about her participation. But, watching her progress, I can see how it could be bad for some people’s self-esteem.
I do, quite often, take part in a Wednesday night Writing Race on Facebook. There, I’m just happy to get a solid hour of writing in, and everyone there is encouraging. So the people who have written more than 2,000 words (even more than 3,000) tell me it’s wonderful that I’ve written 450, and it is.
The other week, one of the writers posted that they had only written 750 words and commented that they were really slow. Everyone, including me, instantly replied that it wasn’t slow (I’ve never written that many words in an hour, probably never will.) and that it wasn’t the number that counted. But, it was clear, to me, that this writer had felt the pressure of the much larger word counts being posted.
However, word count is not the only way to feel insecure about your writing. Here are some of the things that have left me asking: Am I a writer?
I don’t like writing: Some writers talk about their love of writing, their joy of putting pen to page or finger to keyboard. They may have times when it’s hard to write, even painful, when the words just will not flow and the blanks page or screen becomes the enemy. However, it seems to me that, most writers like the physical process of writing. I just don’t. I love to create stories, build worlds, develop unique characters and see how it all comes out, but, only when I’m doing in my head. When it comes to writing it down, it is always painful. I do have times when the words flow and I can look at what’s on the screen and be genuinely pleased with the result. But, I still find even that painful.
I’m not compelled to write: This is closely related to the above. Again, some writers talk about being compelled to write, if they don’t write they’ll die. That is just not me. I have to compel myself to write. The stories come to my head easy, I couldn’t stop them if I tried, but I I find it very easy stop writing at any time.
I don’t love words: Many writers seem to just be in love with words. I read what they have to say and feel like telling them to get a room! Their gushes of appreciation for words border on the erotic. I like words, but I don’t love them. I love the stories that they create. It’s all about the story for, the words are just tools. This does not mean I don’t enjoy a good use of words, a well done turn of phrase, I do. It’s just that, in the end, it’s the story that really matters to me.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a writer, but a story teller. That writing is just one means of being a story teller. But I want to be a writer, have done since I was a child. Now, some 40+ years later, I’ve realised that I don’t have to want to be a writer; I can just be a writer.
Being a writer is a choice, and an action. I don’t have to be like any other writer, and they don’t have to be like me. I’m a writer because I say I’m a writer, and I write stuff.
I have stories in my heart and, somehow, I’m going to write them. This makes me a writer.
What makes you a writer is up to you.