What does it mean to be a writer?

5057567707_514cbb59a6_mMy life got turned upside down and all around. I was a writer. Now I’m paid to be a copywriter. Does that mean I stopped being a writer and became something else?

What does it mean to be a writer?

I thought I was a writer because I spent all day long writing books. But was that ever true? I wanted to spend all day long writing books. Occasionally I did. I once wrote a book in three and a half weeks. Then I wrote more consistently than I cared for my children.

But most of the time, I wrote most of the time. I probably wrote for three or four hours a day. The rest of the time I was getting to where I planned to write, settling myself down, checking Facebook, doing research, find music that fit my mood, looking over what I wrote the day before, checking Facebook again.

So maybe I wasn’t a writer, maybe I was a mother that sometimes wrote. I spent more hours of the day mothering, cleaning and tidying away. If our identity is decided by the thing that occupies the majority of our time, then I was a housewife. A stay at home mom. Or stay in general vicinity of home, rushing back in time for the school bus drop-off mom.

Except I wanted to be a writer.

When I was washing the dishes, I’d plan out my next scene. My characters would wander through my mind when I was on the treadmill, (who am I kidding? When I was collapsed on the couch.)

I decided that if I wanted to be a writer I’d have to take my work seriously. I left my house to write with less distractions. I stopped answering my phone, and Facebook not withstanding, I wrote like it was my job. Because I made it my job.

If I thought about writing as my job, did that make me a writer?

I thought maybe I’d officially be a writer when my books made enough money to cover the salary I wasn’t earning anywhere else. I’m still waiting for that to happen.

Now I took a ‘day-job,’ does that mean I’m not a writer?

I actually spend more hours per day writing than I ever did before.

Do advertorials count as writing?

I feel like Van Gough hired to paint a house. But then Michelangelo painted ceilings. Perhaps advertising copy is also art. It certainly is words. It can take quite some skill to squeeze a message into ninety characters for a Facebook ad.

I’m five weeks into my new job. I’ve written four newspaper articles (we try to avoid the term advertorial if we can because then we get the space for free,) two landing pages, three banner ads, two presentations, and an ad campaign. That’s a lot of writing.

For myself I’ve written one blog post (two if you count this one.) For my books, I’ve written nothing.

Am I still a writer?

I still have deadlines. And a wonderful editor waiting for my work. I want to have clear slots of time in my week when I can work on my books and newly created manageable deadlines (no more writing books in under a month.)

I write and I think about writing. And I realize that identity is not a coat that you take on or off. It is not the unchangeable color of your eyes.

Identity is the song we weave with the notes of our lives.

I am a writer as long as I believe I am a writer.

I am a writer the way that I am a mother. As long as I have breath in my body I will be a mother. And as long as my heart is beating I will always be a writer.

When something is part of who you are, it cannot be taken from you.

I am blessed to be a writer, the creator of worlds and spinner of dreams. Whatever I am writing, even when I am not writing, being a writer is who I am.

 

 

 


Photocredit: flickr (I lost the link, will post when I find it again.)

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