What Makes a Writer?

A debate on Facebook that expanded to Twitter gave me pause, and I started to wonder about this (somewhat loaded) question.

I have loved writing since I was young.  I can remember writing my first short story while at my parents’ beach house in Ocean City, Maryland, and being so proud of myself.  It was then that I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Always journaling, taking creative writing classes, trying my hand at short stories, novels with no endings, and poetry…my childhood and teen years are a wealth of writing ventures and experiences.

But when it came time for college, I pushed writing away.  Whether it was the fear of criticism, the concern over how practical a degree in English would be, or the looming “real world,” I’m not sure.  But the truth was, I forgot about writing for a time.

I re-discovered my love of the written word after I had the girls and we moved overseas.  I found myself doing web writing, which filled a void in my life that I almost hadn’t known existed.  What started as a way to earn extra money, a hobby, quickly became a bit of an obsession.

I started writing about writing on Internet forums, which is how I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I thought it sounded like a good idea, but didn’t have any ideas for a novel.  Plus, it had been years since I’d written fiction.  A decade, even.

A visit and conversation with my mom and an evening run was all it took, though, for me to get the idea for Scattered.  It was all I could do to keep my ideas inside until the month of November began, and when it did…I poured the novel out onto paper without even thinking.

Then I discovered blogging.  Once that was added into the mix…well…let’s just say that I was writing almost constantly.

I love to write.  I write because I have something to say.  I write because I’m inspired…trust me, when I’m writing something uninspiring, it’s like pulling teeth to get it done.

I wonder…am I less of a writer than someone who’s degree is in journalism or English?  I don’t think so.  I’m not defined by my training, but by my writing.

And I write.

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6 thoughts on “What Makes a Writer?

  1. l envy you that certainty – it’s something to treasure, l think, and something l’m still trying to find again. To be perfectly honest, even those people that hold degrees in english and all the wonderful associated things can be *not* writers, simply by what they do and think. It’s not our backgrounds that make us, although that certainly helps – it’s our love of words, and putting them to use to create something intriguing.

  2. I agree, writing matters much more than your credentials, good blog though definitely told an interesting story, and glad you got back into writing!

  3. thank you for this post and for the previous post. I had never heard of the National Novel Writing Month but have just signed up to give it a try! I’m truly excited because this is something I’ve always wanted to do and as I just turned 50 there’s no time like the present! Started blogging for some of the writing outlet with http://www.answersformoms.org and now am writing prose on http://www.cheesedofhf.blogspot.com and http://www.gutspilling101.blogspot.com could use some feedback if you have the time. Thanks!

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