I’m never quite sure how to answer when people ask what I “do.” Of course, I know they’e really asking what I do for a living, so I usually take the easy way out and say I’m an adminisrative assistant, or perhaps I’ll say I’m an admin and a musician.
I never say I’m a writer.
Why is that? Since I began blogging a couple of years ago, I’ve logged nearly as many hours at this keyboard as I have at my office computer, and certainly more than I’ve spent at the ivories. I’ve written over 600 blog posts, completed two novellas, and dozens of poems and haiku.
But none of my friends (aside from all of you) and only a few of my family members have any idea that I’ve been doing all this scribbling in my spare time.
So why am I hoarding this little secret?
Is it because I don’t consider myself a “real writer?” What does it take to be a “real writer”?
In the past, it’s been easier for me to define myself as a musician, because people listen to my music. The reward of playing for an audience is immediate and intoxicating. You see their reaction in the smiles on their faces, you feel their involvement in the energy that pervades the room, you hear their enjoyement in the excited applause. I admit that I love that instant reaction, that feeling of providing the audience with something that entertains and enlightens them. But I’ve recently curtailed a lot of my musical activities, and for the first time in many years, I’m going into the fall season without any musical responsibilites other than my church choir. Cutting back on my musical involvement was deliberate, a way to give myself more time to pursue other activities- like writing.
The writer’s “product”~the essay, the story, the poem~is “consumed” somewhere else. The feedback is rarely immediate, and sometimes doesn’t come at all. We often must be content with a private sense of accomplishment, the satisfaction of a story well told or a metaphor perfectly placed. The “real world” rewards – recognition and financial success – are few and far between.
The internet, and specifically the experience of blogging, has changed this scenario. Suddenly our words can be read by someone, somewhere, who might find them meaningful. However, there are those who don’t consider blogging “real writing,” decrying it is nothing more than glorified journal keeping. Personally, I’m thrilled that the internet has provided writers like us with a place to share our stories, our perspective, our experiences, and ~even more exciting~ to engage in a dialogue with other writers. At least in this space, I find myself much more comfortable saying that I am a writer.
Perhaps, some day, I’ll be able to say it to the rest of the world as well.
How about you? Do you consider yourself a writer? Do you think blogging is “real writing?” What does it take to be a “real writer”?