Believe it or not there are actually people I meet on a regular basis who ask me what it’s like to be a writer. I know you are shocked, right? After all it should be apparent to anyone who is anyone exactly how it is to be a writer, right? I mean everyone knows someone, somewhere who IS a writer, right? Wait, I can see by the disinterested stare that this might not be the case, and I may be laboring under the misconception that writers just grow on trees and as there are trees practically everywhere. Okay so you have justified the reason for the question and I suppose that I might just as well deliver some sort of response, of course I AM a writer!
To be a writer can mean many things such as being someone who likes to write (did you see what I did there) or someone who gets paid to write and hopefully for a lucrative living! To be a writer can also mean that someone merely imagines themselves to be a writer and has a steamer trunk filled with the first lines of many a misbegotten novel but has yet to allow their ideas to become a reality. Yes, yes this could be what it means indeed. Still I am keenly aware that people might be seeking a more personal response; so to that end I offer this observation.
To be a writer, is a feeling that overcomes my senses at the most inconvenient of times, such as when I am not near a paper and pen let alone have a voice activated tape recorder available to capture that fleeting thought which will surely lead to an amazing article, poem or best-selling book! It is a feeling of peace that if I were stranded on a desert island, I would be perfectly content to have a stick and an endless beach of undisturbed sand allowing me to journal my wacky and varied adventures. To me, to BE a writer one must feel compelled to write, right!
To be a writer means that I am never without a gift to give! Regardless of the occasion I can whip up a poem, a toast, an essay or even a short story and because what I write is personal, it is the PERFECT GIFT! Being able to take the same words that others use to order food, chat about their jobs or use to describe their latest operations are exactly the same words I can weave into something special, and could make you think I am a word-whisperer!
To be a writer, I have a highly developed sense of awareness, so highly developed at times I can even sense things that are happening while others around me swear on a stack of bibles are NOT! Perhaps I am simply tuned into the unspoken word, open to the silent dialogue between inanimate objects or am privy to the decoded languages of the plant and animal kingdoms because they trust that I will do them justice. Or it could just be the fact that I say I can do these things. Yet I can write about them in such a way as to remove all doubt in your mind, and this IS what it is like to be a writer!
To be a writer is a most vulnerable of professions because emotions, opinions, talent, and style are under constant scrutiny. Doubt this? Walk in Stephen King’s shoes or Danielle Steele’s heels for a year and see if each and every thing you churn out isn’t held to a particular standard, albeit a standard that YOU yourself set with each and every thing you churn out! You can’t have an ‘off-day’ when what you do is anticipated so dearly that there are people who live and breathe by what you write. This might make one wonder whether being a writer means you write to be read or write just to write.
Hence, the answer to what is it like to be a writer is so personal that explanations can seem to be more conjecture than fact and it may appear that I have not given you much in the way of specifics. Really, I thought I was rather open and verbose on the topic and NO, I was not targeting a specific word count for this dissertation. It could be that you have not found YOUR definition of what it is to be a writer in what I have written and there may be a bit of logic in that thought. Wait, I know what’s going on, that writer’s instinct of mine that knows that other writers have spies everywhere who are just waiting for me to let slip that next great idea for my next great piece and then THEY WILL write it before I can! So I write everything in double secret code to throw you off the trail or possibly you have figured me out already. Still I leave this thought with you and that is, that to be a writer is all of this and more that has yet to be discovered. To be a writer is a power, a purpose and a passion! To be a writer is a responsibility, a right and a remedy. To be a writer is a tonic, a teaching and a torture all at the same time! To be a writer is to be a wizard with words, an orchestrator of opinions and a believer of becoming. To be a writer is to be a purveyor of promise, a scribe of scenarios and a logician of letters.
Bereft am I of any further explanation for unless you ARE a writer, any amount of explanation in the world may NEVER satisfy you anyway.
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