Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Makes a Writer?

Over in Writer-ville, there's a lot of posturing and "real" writers versus "wannabees" ego trips. It makes me sad. The kind of sad that makes me bake huge chocolate cakes and eat fettuccine alfredo. So sad that hurts my heart. Not because *I* feel like I am not a real writer, but because NO ONE should feel like they're not a real writer.

Anyone who writes simply because they enjoy the process is a writer. I see the most terrible "guidelines" for what makes a "real writer" thrown about. Proclamations like, "If you you have to write every day or you'll absolutely DIE, then you're a REAL writer." Or, even better, "A REAL writer cranks out a minimum of eight meeeeeellion words a day." And my very favorite, "If you only write XYZ, then you're not a REAL writer."

I write romance. In fact, it can possibly be classified as erotic romance, depending on your definition. I also write completely non-sex related articles as a journalist (okay, sometimes they're about sex, too). I ALSO write a weekly blog about sex. Okay, we've established I write about sex quite a bit. Anyway, that's not my point. My point is, even if you only read high concept literary fiction and you think romance is utter crap, it doesn't not negate the truth: I'm a writer. If you don't believe me, then my publishing contract and various paychecks for my writing kind of solidify the fact.

I cannot write every day. Caring for my family is my first priority. When that takes up the majority of my time, writing takes a back seat. Do I miss it? Of course! Do I wish hadn't fallen asleep at 8:30 last night and instead has spend an hour writing my new book? Absolutely. Does this personal striving for balance (and sleep) mean I'm not a real writer. No Way.

So, I challenge you, my friends, to stop investing in the writer-wars (which are like the mommy-wars, but with more paper). Let's celebrate each other; our successes and our failures, the bumps in the road and the shining star moments, our struggles and our achievements, no matter how big or small. Let's be writers and leave it at that, because, honestly, being a writer is hard enough all on it's own.

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