Monday, 20 November 2017

You're only a writer if...

Which ones have you heard? If you write prolifically every day? If you read within your genre substantially? If you work through as many how-to guides as humanly possible?

You're a writer

I'm afraid I'm going to put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons and say, quite loudly, piffle!

If you are writing, then you are a writer. Sometimes life is not conducive to writing huge volumes on a daily basis. Sometimes the very thought of trying to edit your first draft leaves you in a cold sweat, hiding under the duvet, thinking that facing the monsters from the Upside Down might be easier.

If you read regularly then kudos to you. Some adults don't read at all. Doesn't mean they can't also be writers. Just means they aren't looking to see what else is out there or indeed how well others have done it before you. I happen to be a huge book lover so I would always recommend reading a good book but some people are just not wired that way. Obviously, having a good grasp of literature equips you with a decent vocabulary and if you're really lucky, a semi-understanding of the basics of grammar.

If you have the additional time to work through how-to guides, the ability to attend writers workshops, a local writing group, access to writer conferences and even the opportunity to escape from it all to a writers retreat then quite frankly, lucky you. Take full advantage of all those opportunities and make the absolute most of them. It may be that you come away from all of them with some half decent writing.

I am six days away from the due date of my second baby. I have been plagued with killer heartburn, total brain and body exhaustion that honestly leaves me wondering how I'm going to get through the day, a swollen disc in my back reducing me to tears of pain and hobbling everywhere on a pair of crutches. So no, I haven't written every day. I have done what I can. After the birth of my baby, I expect I won't write every day either. This does not make me a non-writer.

I am a published author. I intend to write more books. I plan to continue to be a published author. And despite my somewhat leftfield approach to writership, I am dedicated, I do put in as much as I can and I most definitely take it seriously. I do, however, refuse to feel guilty for not conforming to the 'You're only a writer if..' mindset.

By the way - if you do write every day, read expansively and attend all manner of writerly courses and events then I doff my hat to you, well done, have a piece of cake.

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Slice of cake