Sunday, February 7, 2010

Am I a Writer?

Gary's last post made me think. Then it made me realize I need to make a confession.

I'm not like other writers. I'm not. I never tell them that, though. Because if I tell them how I'm different, they'll look at me and shake their heads and whisper, "She's not a writer."

Part of me thinks they're right. Part of me thinks I'm just a wolf dressed up in writer's clothing. A writing impostor.

Why am I not like other writers?

I don't dream about my characters.
I don't go in writing withdrawal. I'm perfectly content if I don't write for a day, a week or a month.
I don't think that my characters speak to me. Or find me. Or control themselves. Or any of that other stuff people say their characters do.
I don't get writer's block (I just get writer's crap).

Does this all mean that I'm a bad writer? Or am I not a writer at all?



  1. Natt,

    I don't dream about my characters either, nor do I go into writing withdrawal (more like writing guilt because I feel like I should be writing but I don't really feel a need to) and I don't get writer's block either--just writer laziness. Although my characters do tend to live in my head--I've had one family squatting in my brain for nearly a decade--that doesn't mean I'm any closer to writing their stories.

    One person can never do the same job in the same way as someone else. So don't sweat it.

  2. Natt:

    I do confess to dreaming about my writing, just not the characters specifically.

    Like Deanna, I feel tremendous guilt if I don't write everyday, but sometimes I get "blocked" because something in the story just isn't right, so I allow myself a day, sometimes two, to concentrate on other things while my subconscious sorts it all out. Then I'm back writing again and much happier for it.

    Like you, I always hesitate to call myself a writer because it seems so self-aggrandizing, though it shouldn't. But each time I finish a book, I think, "How the hell did I do this?" and more importantly, "How the hell am I going to do this again?"

    I don't think I'll ever be able to answer those questions...

  3. Bad news, Natt, you're a writer and no amount of squirreling will get you out. Every writer handles their writing differently. I don't outline, but the next person over swears by it.

    We all get that "I'm an imposter" feeling when the writing's not going as well as we'd like. But we come back to the page (or the screen) and keep going because we love doing it.

    As far as how often you write, it depends on what your goal is. If you want to make a career of this, you need to write more often than if you don't. I get cranky (apparently) if I don't write, but that's me and doesn't make you any more or less of a writer because you don't get a certain way someone else does.

    Don't worry about whether you are or aren't a writer. Just write. Good advice; I should take it occasionally!

  4. Bleh... I've read what you write and if you aren't a writer then there's no such thing. Just because writing hurts and you feel a bit bound up, doesn't mean you can, you know, produce (substitute gross analogy here). Real writers are so self-doubting and troubled!! I feel your pain, but it's just pain... not truth!