Monday, May 17, 2010

Who Is A Writer?

An acquaintance told a friend, “If you’re not writing every day, you’re not a writer and have no business attending writers’ meetings.”

Did that make me angry? You bet it did! Who can judge whether or not someone else is a writer?

It’s true that for some of us—which includes me—this is a business and we must produce X amount of pages each day to meet our goal of completing project Y by Z date. Author Merline Lovelace stated she writes at least five new pages a day, which means five series books a year. She’s a fast writer, and writes in the morning so she can play golf with her husband in the afternoon. Evenings are reserved for editing, the business side of writing, and relaxation. Great schedule for her.

But what if some people only write five pages a year? Is that person still a writer? Some people write books in their heads because they don’t have time or the energy to write their ideas on their computer or on paper—but they have dreams in their hearts. They attend craft workshops and writers meetings to gather information so that, when the time comes, they will be prepared to write. Is that wrong? Not in my opinion.

Each of us probably does his or her best in life. I know I’m doing my best, even when I fall short of my goals. Sometimes our best is working a day job. Sometimes it’s herding kids here and there. Sometimes (if you’re lucky) that job is writing. I’ve known many people who call themselves writers who probably will never complete a manuscript. So what? Who does that harm? Not me.

None of us knows who will be successful. In my opinion, the thing to do is to encourage and nurture all those who have a vision, even if the idea is just a kernel of hope. Never discourage anyone or cheat him or her of the dream!

Today, I’m interviewed on Sky Purington’s blog. Please pop over and make a comment. I’m also taking part in a May BLOGATHON. Tuesday I trade blogs with freelance writer and photographer Beverly Burmeier. Please stop by tomorrow to comment on Beverly's excellent article on learning the tango.


Dawn Ius said...

At a writer's conference, I saw a really inspirational talk by a NY Times bestselling author. He had me on the edge of my seat, to the point where I wanted to shout: YES! I AM a writer... Until the end when he suggested that unless you're writing a minimum of 20 hours a week, you'll never get published and can't call yourself a writer. Some weeks I'll manage that. Others, I'll crank out more, but often way less.

You're right - no one else has the right to determine whether or not we are writers.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Dawn, I hate that! Of course you're a writer. He probably has a wife and/or housekeeper who waits on him hand and foot while he spends time writing. Family comes first, doesn't it? Illness, family, jobs, and any number of things can deter a writer, no matter how earnest he or she is about the craft.

Avery Michaels said...

I agree with you! Sometimes it is all I can do to work the 40+ hours a week. So I write when I can. But I am finally understanding that doesn't make me any less a writer! And so good to see you this last weekend!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This was very encouraging Caroline. Us aspiring authors appreciate other authors with attitudes like this. Being a writer is already hard enough without someone saying you're not a writer because you do not write enough!

I also wanted to thank you for my giveaway prizes. I received them last week. The necklace is gorgeous! And the scent of the bath and body set is perfect. LOVE that lip gloss! And thanks for the book. I'm adding it to my monstrous tbr pile. Thanks again for being so generous. =O)

Caroline Clemmons said...

Avery. I loved seeing you also. I will be at more meetings this year and hope you can attend. Saturday was great, wasn't it?

Caroline Clemmons said...


I'm so glad you enjoyed your gift. I appreciate you commenting and following me!