Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Defining a writer

Do you consider yourself a writer? Do you think blogging is “real writing?” What does it take to be a “real writer”?

Those who know me think of me as a teacher. Thats what I have been doing for the past 17 years. Along with teaching, I sometimes double up as a counsellor too. I suppose that is part and parcel of the teaching profession.

As I said before, I came to writing fairly late. That does not bother me. I am loving every moment of my creativity. However, only a few in my family know that I write. Friends, no! My poetic efforts go unnoticed by them. Does that mean I am not a writer? No, I don't think it that way. I think of myself as a poet first and then anything else. Ok, I have not yet published my work. I write and post mostly online. And I do consider it real writing. Feedback/critiques from blogger friends helps me in striving for better. Blogging world has produced and still producing many good writers. It gives us instant feedback and we save on time. We don't have to run around asking for it.

Next, a writer mostly looks at things in different ways. Thats what I do. My imagination takes me into many different directions. A real writer should be able to observe and imbibe and reproduce it in an entirely different way. That is what I try to do. I might not earn millions out of my writing. But so what? I am writing. That is important for me. In a way, it has opened up a whole new avenue for me. The entire world is open for me now. After 1000+ blog posts on both my blogs, I do consider myself a real writer. I write poetry, essays, short stories, book reviews and working on a novel. Next step is to publish my work.

Time slowly passes by
unnoticed I go on
wishing millions would flock

What are your thoughts on being a "real writer"? Do you agree or disagree?


Gemma Wiseman said...

I am a teacher too, but I have also been writing creatively for most of my life! It is almost a mania with me! Strangely, when i don't write for awhile, I get a kind of nausea, or "unwellness", as if I am out of balance! Quite strange!

Enjoyed your posting!

Anonymous said...

Love your sharing. It's sincere writing. In time to come, you cannot go unnoticed and the millions will come! Hang on to your dream. You'll be an author sooner than you think!

Raven's Wing Poetry said...

Gautami, a lot of your post resonated with me. I blog to get my work out there. So far I have earned maybe $40 off of my poetry (that's chapbooks sold plus payment for a piece which should hopefully be published pretty soon). Writing is writing is writing...blogging is just another medium, which I feel stands valid next to the printed page.

Thanks for posting.


TC said...

This was a great piece designed to make us think. Well done.

To me personally, I believe that if YOU believe you are a writer, then you're a writer. Being a writer has nothing to do with selling stories or poetry or books: it has to do with a state of mind and feeling within yourself. You obviously have that feeling.

You are a writer.

Jen B said...

I agree
I think doing something you love and growing from it is who you are as a writer.
I believe blogging is writing because it helps me get those 'short thoughts' out and get feedback. :)

sage said...

You are a Writer! Your use of language is wonderful. I bet you're a wonderful teacher too

PJD said...

What makes a "real" writer is a debate of great contention. Hundreds of comments over at Nathan Bransford's blog about that a few weeks ago.

I personally believe that a "real" writer writes with the intent to be read. Could be poetry, fiction, essay, blog posts, how-to manuals, whatever. But it involves trying to be the best craftsperson possible in the medium of language to communicate. Industrial publication is a validation of craft and, I think, an ultimate goal of "real" writers.

There are quite a few people who get incensed at that. They say, "I write because I will die if I don't! If no one ever reads what I write, I am no less of a writer!"

I say: Yeah, whatever. People who paint for fun don't walk around saying, "I'm an artist" or "I'm a painter."

I wrote for years before I finally considered myself a "real" writer. The transition for me had more to do with finally internalizing the craft, completing a large work, being able to analyze and critique my own work as well as others' work. Before that moment, it was all hobby and aspiration to being a writer. Sure, I wrote, but I don't think I was a "real" writer until then.

Linda Jacobs said...

I never wrote a poem until I was 40! I mostly write poetry and definitely consider myself a writer.


Thanks for this interesting post!

Lucy said...

Gautami, YOU are definitely a real writer!
Your poems and words have moved many.
To answer your first set of questions. I don't consider myself a writer, just a gabber with a wonderful forum. I think blogging IS real writing when it's done by the many talented people I mostly encounter in the blog community. Im not sure what it takes to be a 'real' writer, but you sure have it, so maybe it takes writing that holds the readers interest??
good post as usual!

anthonynorth said...

Anyone who observes, and passes on the thoughts that come in a creative, written form IS a writer.
I think writing is what I do. Blogging is the way through which I do it.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are a writer if you consider yourself one; if you say that you are. And I agree with those who say that writing (or creating of any kind) is intended for an audience of some kind. That is the great democratizing power of the internet. Writers can reach an audience that they might not otherwise have found through traditional publishing channels. Thanks for this thoughtful essay.

Daily Panic said...

I have the same thoughts you do.
Writing is something we are inspired to do, and that is what makes a writer a writer. Just as anyone who plants a seed in the ground and nurtures the plant can consider themselves a gardner.

Writing on Board said...

I love real writers. I love fake writers. I love fat writers. I love skinny writers. I love tall writers. Okay. Not the short writers. Nobody loves a short writer. That's still true.

Anonymous said...

(sorry this is unrelated to your current post, but I wanted to thank you...)

I'm thoroughly impressed! Your answers to my "Weekly Geeks: Favorite Authors" post were all correct! Great job! :D

Anonymous said...

Superb answer, Gautami. I agree, a writer looks at things differently, and works to express that vision to others through their words.

Your post sparked some great comments, too - lots of interesting ideas on this topic!

ChefDruck said...

Oscar Wilde said, "The difference between a professional writer and an amateur is that an amateur writes only when he is inspired, or when he feels like it; a professional writes regardless." Congrats on over 1,000 blog posts! Thanks for the comment on my Sunday Scribblings.

Whitesnake said...

I disagree!

gautami tripathy said...

Great! I love the interacting comments. I find those very interesting like Becca.

At the end of the day, we are all writers irrespectiv how our thoughts are.

storyteller said...

I read your post with interest and find myself reflecting on my own thoughts on the subject …
I 'taught' for 34 years before I retired in 2001. I’ve long considered myself a ‘writer’ because I write daily ... and have done for decades. Only recently have I begun to consider I might be an ‘author’ now that I share by ‘publishing’ what I write on my blogs rather than keeping it to myself. As for the people in my life, few read anything I write or publish … but all support me in my desire to pursue this endeavor. Real or ‘virtual’ … I do write. I wish you well on your endeavor to publish your writing.
Hugs and blessings,

Anonymous said...

Very thought-provoking entry. What makes a writer? Good question. I think, to some extent, part of being a writer is being able to express your thoughts on paper (figuratively speaking where the Internet is concerned). I'm not sure it's necessarily being able to make money or acquire fame. I write mostly for fun these days, though sometimes I am trying to express an idea or a feeling.

Anonymous said...

g, what a great post... yes, you write therefore you are a witer... clear thoughts we can relate to... it's been almost a year for me that i've been blog writing.. previously i wrote in my younger years in school... all i know is i write even if i don't feel like it... regardless of what i do w/the words.. whether i post or not... never thought abt publishing or a monetary return... does that mean im not a serious writer.. hope note.. all i know it is most enjoyable... my friends i tell them excitedly of my new found pleasure have they been to my blog.. um dont know... thrz a world out there of writers blogging and it has been a gracious journey full of delightful surprises.. thank you for a great post