Are You a Writer if You're Not Writing?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

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I believe I mentioned in a letter to Jenny recently that I haven't been writing much lately (since then that has changed, but this post still applies!). I tend to be slightly ADD when it comes to concentrating, and I only seem to remember two or three things at once. Essentially, I had forgotten to read literature that inspired me to write or inspired my story (Psithurism at the moment), and when I tried to sit myself down and do the thing, I felt painfully stuck. I knew where I wanted my story to go, I just wasn't too sure how to get there. The story was stagnant. Like I said in the letter, academic writing had cramped my imagination a bit, and doubling the effect was my neglect to read. Once I got to a certain point in The Help, Skeeter's determination to write about life as it is in Jackson, Missisipi seemed a red light to me: you need to do the same.

On the airplane rides to and from Boston, I pulled out my notebook and wrote a slow, small section, the scene I saw in my head at the moment, not necessarily the one that "needed" to be written. But before then, I began wondering: am I truly a writer if I'm not currently writing?

I'm not sure about this one. I could argue "yes" - to the extent that so long as your ideas are still flowing for stories and you're still pulling knowledge and inspiration from everything you read, you're a writer in the organization stage, and the writing will come afterwards.

I could also argue the "no," however: what makes you a writer if you aren't writing anything? The ideas won't wait for you to square them of in nice boxes: write them now and concern yourself with organization later!

This post isn't to say one or the other is truth. I actually want to ask you where you stand on the topic: are you a writer if you're not writing? There's certainly some truth to it. Or do we as writers need a break sometimes too? Can we really get a break with our minds on the proverbial ball 24/7?

What do you think?

6 comments

  1. Uhm, I don't like how this post is convicting me. *shuts eyes tearfully* I AM a writer still, but you know what? I have hardly written anything in my stories these past months thanks to school-work and stuff. :'(

    But I still think about it. . . I do, I do!

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    1. I don't think that not writing means you aren't a writer if the stories still occupy headspace, Joy. And when something means enough to you, you should make a little time for it, even if it's only 10 minutes a day. (Believe me, I understand the struggle against time!) I do wonder, however, if a person has adequate writing time, and does not use it, what does define him/her as a writer?

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  2. I think that writing is different for everybody. I think if a writer's pools of imagination are still flowing, and their heart is still breathing words every minute, should they not be classified a writer? On the other hand, if you profess yourself to be a writer, yet do not take the title seriously or make time to work on your craft, where does this leave you?

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    1. Precisely, Annie! You've hit the nail on the head.

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    2. Thank you, Bree. (I would much prefer to be called Annie-Jo, by the way.)

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  3. Well, I think if you're a writer you are always writing, but perhaps not writing it down. Although I don't know how much sense that might make to anyone else.

    Also, I've tagged you for the Sunflower Blogger Award over at my blog, Anything, Everything. Here's the link: http://ghostryter.blogspot.com/2014/06/sunflower-award.html

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