Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Defining Yourself as a Writer

blog40Defining yourself as a writer is a topic that I’ve touched on before. Agent Nathan Bransford's blog post last week covered his exasperation with people whose identities are too wrapped up in being a writer. I usually agree with much that he writes, but this post had me scratching my head.

I guess he deals with many people who think themselves better writers than they actually are. I’m sure it’s frustrating to receive so many queries from people who write poorly and expect you to quickly respond with an eager acceptance of their manuscript. But do you have to be good to consider yourself a writer? Could you happily write a family history that delights everyone in your extended family and still be a writer? Could you pen the company’s monthly newsletter and still be a writer?

I think so.

Because being a writer goes a little deeper. It’s something many of us feel passionate about. I thought one of the comments on Nathan Bransford’s blog was interesting. It was by reader Adam Christopher and he wrote:

Say Mandy has a passion for rock-climbing. She goes all the time. She blogs about it. She takes part in a rock-climbing forum. She goes on big trips. She's a bona fide, through-and-through rock-climber. During the day, she's a receptionist at the HQ of a stationery chain. So what is she? Is she a receptionist? Does that define who she is? Not at all, she's a rock-climber. Rock-climbing is her life.

I frequently don’t mention that I’m a writer when I’m doing mom stuff with other moms. It’s such a conversation-stopper. Much easier to be Mama and go with the flow. But I know deep down that I’m a writer. And it’s one of the greatest pleasures in my life.