Friday, February 06, 2009

What Makes a Writer?

I write stuff, and have written stuff, other than the crud I put on this blog....so I think to myself that means "I'm a writer"

But am I?

I was at my writing group today, and I said the following to one of my co-groupers:

"This chapter is good. It has a consistent voice and the story naturally flows...while your previous chapter seems like there is an author trying to write a story."

And it stung me to say that because then I wondered...does my writing do that, too? Which led to: Does my writing suck? Is it even good?

I have story upon story "finished" (whatever that means), edited...and seemingly not terrible, yet I won't submit anything to anyone...and for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

Is it because I don't want to know that, in actuality, my idea of being a writer is a person trying to be an author who is trying to write a story? I don't even care if someone else publishes or even likes what I write, as long as it seems right to me...but what makes a writer?

When I think of who I am and what I want to be...it seems like being a writer is inside of my core...but I can't even define what that means for myself. I've been published before in some low budget collection...but that didn't seem to do it...and I was almost (whatever that means) published in The New Yorker...but that didn't do it either.

And for years now...I write, and have written, story after story, and they sit on my computer in a folder called "writing."

But what does that mean?

My ultimate goal, from the time I was younger than all the students who I today try to help, has always been to write one thing that changed one person's life in such a way...that they would never forget the piece. Not me. The piece. I want to give someone I don't even know this "ah ha" moment...one that I can't seem to forge for myself.

I don't know what a writer is...but I seriously know what it isn't. And at this point...it isn't me.

7 comments:

Someone you don't even know said...

Ah ha!

Manasse said...

Chances are I do know you...and if anything in my blog makes you think "ah ha," you probably are just really curious about poop and/or people with similar names to me.

=)

ann marie said...

I will never ever forget the adventures of bamboo chickie lacka

prez said...

Start submittin', mister.

Michelle Panik said...

I can't remember who it was (Mary Gordon?) who said "A writer is someone who has written today." You just have to do the work, and trust it, and then risk everything by sending out your work. I really think writing's an endurance race, which is something you know a thing or two about. :) Just keep at it.

Maccerz said...

Your bathroom article in Berkeley changed my life, so if your goal is to change one person's life in an unforgettable way, then consider your mission accomplished, mister.

katie b said...

well i love to read, so if you want to send reading material my way, i'm happy to oblige plus there is room for tons of "ah ha" moments in my life so i may be your prefect audience :) just ask Mashburn...