Sunday, December 30, 2012

Do you call yourself a writer?

May sound strange, but I've rarely called myself a writer.  To me,  if I wasn't making a living as a writer, or at least doing it full time, I wasn't really a writer.  (How you do the latter without doing the former is a good question.)

Even when I was a published writer,  it didn't feel comfortable.

For the last 30 years, almost no one who knew me knew about that part of my life.  It was always awkward -- questions about where the books were, how they did, and so on.  (That has been resolved somewhat by the net -- my books seem to be all over the place, just not right here.)  It also -- again -- always sounded kind of pretentious.

So with 2013, I'm finally going to call myself a writer again.  It's been like a second job over the last year, at least equal to my job as a businessman.  Over the last two years it was like a long slow fall into the writer life.  I was like testing the waters, seeing if I liked it, seeing what I could do and how long and how hard it would be.

Now?  I'm ready to say to myself that this is a real deal.  I really am very concentrated on writing.  Some of my efforts will be good(?) some will be bad, some will be inbetween.  Some will be hard, some will be easy, and some will be inbetween.  The point is to just do it.

I used to love the Joseph Campbell quote -- until it got overused by everyone and took on the shaky glow of a cliche.  (Hey, I watched the original Moyer interviews, before everyone discovered him because of George -- "I write myth" -- freakin Lucas.)

"Follow your bliss, and doors will open that you didn't even know were there."

It certainly was true the last time I tried.  I didn't make a career as a writer, but I met Linda at a writer's group, I got hired at Pegasus Books primarily on the basis of me being a writer, and opened some unexpected doors.

I absolutely love that I don't have to answer to agents and publishers.  That I can handcraft a book myself, and put it out.  The art of the work itself, and not the commercial response.  (Not that I would mind a commercial response. hint hint)

Calling myself a writer has a practical side as well.   I'm going to start collecting receipts for what I spend on my efforts -- whether they are writing trips, or commissioned art, or just paper and pencils.

Because if a writer is someone who writes, well, hey I'm a writer.

1 comment:

Jack Goodman said...

That last sentence really nailed it but I know the feeling. I've taken almost 10 years away from writing, but in that time I've wrote blogs, a bit of journalism, lots of poetry, and a few other minor things, but I've never felt comfortable with the classification of writer. It just doesn't feel like the skin I belong in. Though when I was younger and thought it was all I wanted to do, was interning, and getting praise from professionals I gladly wore the moniker. Maybe the wisdom of age and some humbling experiences have lessened my courage and only allowed me to say that "writer" word in hushed tones.