Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are You A Real Writer?

Who was it that said "Life is a series of events, the quality of which you determine"?

(She says joining in the talk from the comments of the last blog today)

I think writing is a personal thing. How much you do, what you do, when you do it, if you publish, is all what you yourself want. What you need to do.

A real writer is someone who writes.

Some people can, and need to do to the exclusion of all else. There are people like that in every art, or profession for that mater. A serious calling. Some people write when they need to, and have something to say. Some people make themselves write at certain times, a certain number of pages per day, others when something hits them.

Some people who cannot write make fine livings publishing books. Bad ones, but someone likes them, and they must have, to have written the stories.

They are all writers.

I'm a writer. (I mean, you are READING this aren't you? Think about it.)

Art for arts sake. Do it because you want to, need to, earn a living at it or not. Do you have a home and people you love? Are you happy? If you want to do nothing but write and earn your living at it, do that too. Not doing that does not make you not a "Real" writer.

It doesn't matter if you ever publish or not, if you are writing, you are a writer.

There is art to a featherstick and a Bengal or two that is no less beautiful than a story, or craft or painting.

Is the featherstick and Bengals less real because I don't earn money at it and breed them? Does it matter less because I am only saving a few, and not 1000's?

Where is the line? I made a lot of money yesterday making music. And I made a LOT of people really happy. But I don't do it full time. There's a lot of other things I want to do. Am I a "real" musician?

I don't think we can dispute "Real" there is a difference between professional, and not. But "Professional" simply needs one is paid for it. And again, where is the line? I know some great writers who have no money. And how many great writers never were published in their lifetimes? Yes, you do need other things.

Ted Nugent once said, if I am quoting him correctly, when someone asked him if he did music for the money. He replied "No, because there are WAY easier ways to earn a living, but at the same time, anyone who says the money doesn't matter, is lying."

I love to write. Do I do it enough? No. But there's a LOT going on. All important. And I will stomp anyone saying "If you really wanted to you'd make time for it" A little simplistic and not all that easy.

Writing, or whatever you do, should above all, make you happy.

Still pretty tired, but that's what I think. I am sure I have more to say, but you all very wise, so take it from here, my Fiends..

Love and Words,


At 19:42 Blogger Laura B said...

I agree completely. I would say more, but I have two children chasing each other right behind my chair.

P.S. Thank you to those of you who wished me a speedy recovery and such. I'm very behind, but recovering well from the hysterectomy.

At 19:42 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Amen sister!

At 19:49 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only are you a real writer, you are also very lucky to be real. In fact, you might be one of the most real people I know. Thank you for putting it out there.


At 19:57 Blogger Wendy Withers said...

I'm sorry that I missed the original threat while I was out doing my responsible adult type things. :( I'm currently trying to get my important proof that I exist sent to me in Louisiana so I can get a driver's license, and I'm also fighting with a school district that sent me an email yesterday saying I couldn't teach because I didn't take a test (that I tested out of because other test scores were so high). After sending them an email today, they sent a letter back saying they'd sorted the problem out, but they addressed to email to "Michelle." :(

My big problem isn't other people telling me I'm not a writer. I don't generally care what other people think. My problem is actually the exact opposite. People like my mum and classmates are impressed with the amount I've had published. I'm the one who is usually too hard on me. I'm always looking ahead. First it was, "If I publish an article, I will be a real writer." Then, it was, "If I publish an article in -insert magazine or newspaper name here- I will be a real writer." Then, it was "If I publish a short story in a magazine, I will be a real writer." Now it's "If I publish an article in The New York Times," and "If I finish revising my novel and it's published, I'll be a real writer."

At 20:05 Blogger Fluffy said...

Hm. Wise words from Ted Nugent. I guess he's not off-the-wall all the time.

I'm not a writer. I like to play with words when I write to friends but I don't think I have any stories I just HAVE to tell. But you - you guys go! All of you are great communicators and I love hearing from you.

One of my friends from high school, Carla Damron, just got her third mystery published. I recently re-connected with her on FB so I need to read the first two books before the new one comes out. I'm sure, knowing her, they are VERY good.

As far as important things go, I have done my toenails the brightest hot pink ever. The name: "Oh Cabana Boy." Well. It's spring break.

At 20:05 Blogger DataGoddess said...


At 20:40 Blogger Jane said...


At 21:01 Blogger Phiala said...

I am still irate but no longer ranty. I still think I should wait until tomorrow to write a blog post of my own. Angry posting is generally not a good idea. (Ranting to Fiends is something quite different!)

At 21:17 Blogger Na said...

Hear, hear!

Agreeing wholeheartedly. I've been thinking about this topic all evening ... great food for thought.

Also tangentially imagining Lady Catherine De Bourgh say, "There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of writing than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient."

At 21:31 Blogger turtlesong said...

we are all "real" whatever we ares whenever we are them. i'm no less a real writer because i no longer write for anyone but myself.

i'm no less a real mom just because my baby happens to have four legs and fur.

i'm no less a real woman just because i had an emergency total hysterectomy (even though that belief took me awhile).

we are real *fill in your word of choice here* if we believe that we are. and fuck anyone who tells us any different.

At 21:35 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Some really lovely comments going on here..Mistress, I missed what got this going, send me a link to your blog when you write it, yes?

Work tomorrow, not that there wasn't today, it was just hard to think, and riding afterwards!

At 21:41 Blogger Dragonsally said...

You nailed it Lorraine. So much wisdom shared here, in our home in the webs.

At 22:13 Blogger Martha W. said...

Thank you for what you are all saying about being a real writer, giving up cooking and cleaning when there's not much choice, being a mother in more than one way, and how hard work can be. It's good to have some life too, even in small bits that will look huge when you look back on it. I hope you will find time to write about it some day.

At 22:31 Blogger AletaMay said...

Well said, as usual, Lorraine.

I am a grad student. I have not had the sort of single minded focus of many of my colleagues and I, like so so many people, always feel like I'm not a "real" student, like I don't belong in grad school, like I am a fake.

I know that is different from dear Phiala's original issue, but it is related in my mind.

I love to write. It is one of the two or three things I love most to do in the world. When I have been successful at it I tend to think it is a fluke, again I feel like a fake.

So my point is this... it is hard enough for me to feel like a "real" whatever just dealing with the stories I tell myself about me. I certainly don't need anyone else telling me I'm not behaving in the proper way to be a real whatever.

This is different, IMO, from a friend giving me a kick in the butt. I certainly need and appreciate that from time to time.

It seems to come down to the same thing so many things come down to. Don't judge. Don't assume you know what it will take for me to be successful. Don't assume that what has worked for you, or for your brother-in-law who sold a story to The New Yorker, will work for me.

I believe that it makes more sense to spend our brief time on earth encouraging and supporting each other, not judging or shamming each other, not tearing each other down.

Cold medicine + soap box = me babbling.

Write on those who like to write! We are all real whatevers!

At 23:39 Blogger Na said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Let me define myself.
I yam what I yam.
A ___ is as a ___ does.

At 00:37 Blogger Ticia said...

Fod, I love you people.


At 00:55 Blogger spacedlaw said...


At 01:24 Blogger Marjorie said...


At 07:03 Blogger EmilyLady said...


At 07:19 Blogger Siri said...

Tick without reading, because I do want to get in on this, but real life is in the way right now.

Gee, I wonder why I don't make time to write. I'm not a writer, either.

And in case someone else hasn't said it - isn't DanGuy supposed to be working on that stretchy time thing so we can make time?

At 08:02 Blogger dabbler said...

Such a good discussion....

And I'll add...I am in frequent negotiation, with my own JUDGE. That voice in my head that says"If you were a REAL ..... , you'd ......! So when others chime in, ouch!

My DD pointed out to me yesterday, that when she does something well, I say "You're great!" When she messes up, or neglects something, I say "It's my fault. I should have taught you better...."
She wondered why only the bad stuff was my fault.

At 08:12 Blogger vampi said...


At 08:41 Blogger Unknown said...

Mmm, yams.

I had a wise therapist/coach a few years ago (when I direly needed one) tell me that I was guilty of, and must avoid, the dread 'black and white thinking.' In terms of 'I am only a real X when I Y' or 'I cannot be an Apple and also an Orange.'

She was right, and as odd as it feels to embrace a perennially split identity (yes, I am working in this office but when I'm eating lunch at my laptop I'm reading a story by Boss or Elizabeth Bear or something noir/mystery and thinking about the cons I want to attend and where I'd like to place my own writing...) I think it is better to be an interesting person pulled in too many directions than a boring one with too much time on her hands.

Though if anyone could stop time for a week or so, so I could get some rest and finish a story (not clean my house - bah - I'll cook kale and beets but I won't dust) I would be happy to chip in for the Continuum Interruption Fee.

Also, if anyone ever feels bad or stressed, remember that Baby Ziggy is the answer. Had an awful conference call last night greatly brightened by his bratty kitten antics (thank you Kimberly).

At 08:50 Blogger Jane said...

Definitely cheered by Ziggy.

I have problems when others think they can look into my life and make pronouncements about it, and what it should or should not be.

I don't mean the kick in the butt from friends (or fiends!)or the truly insightful comment that is an eye-opener - those are welcome!

And I think it is the black and white idea. No such thing, it's all grey IMO :-)

To echo Ticia - love you all.

At 08:51 Blogger Cecily said...

I haven't chimed in because I agree and there is a chorus of agreement, but this morning I am avoiding work, so I figure I will chime in.

I am first a foremost a mother. It is what I am best at, and I am damned good at it. I don't get paid for it. (with money) Next if you were to ask me what I am, I would say an actress. i haven't been in a show in like 4 years, but it is still who I am. It is my passion and what I am best at, mothering withstanding. But I am also a writer, a visual artist, a photographer, and a crafter. I have gotten paid for only the acting, but i firmly believe I am all those things. Though I do have to say, that now that I have been in more artistic circles, I have found that questioned. It is so sad that that has happened. Obviously though here we are lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are open, accepting, non judgmental and totally kick ass. I love it here in my white jacket and sparkles.

At 09:02 Blogger DataGoddess said...

Aw, Dabbler, you have a smart daughter.

And dear Jane, I get a lot of that judgment stuff from various people because I don't conform to societal norms in lots of ways (the most obvious being I'm fat and am not ashamed of it) and generally those people are not on the short list of those whose opinions I care about.

There are people I will take judgment from, close friends and other loved ones, who get to kick my ass when needed, but in general they also know that when it comes to what I define as my basic characteristics either they love me as I am or they get a much reduced place in my life.

We all deserve to have people around us who support us as we are, accept our differences, support us when we fail, and party with us when we succeed. Those who can't do that don't deserve our time and attention.

And back to the original topic, I am a published writer (one article in a tech publication) and I don't consider myself a real writer because I don't want to be one. IMO, you get to define yourself (for the most part, I mean you can't claim to be an astronaut and not be in a program that will put you in space at some point, kwim?) and if you write, you're a writer if you choose to claim that title.

At 09:11 Blogger Phiala said...

I hate most that this has made me feel so defensive. (Not the Fiends, of course - the outside issue.) I feel like I have to justify my time, and why I spend time dyeing silk instead of writing fiction, or sleeping instead of dyeing silk, or whatever. And that it makes me want to say (defensively) that I've not yet been paid for my fiction but I've published X, Y and Z.

None of that should matter. Or rather, it should and does matter, but it shouldn't have anything to do with whether I am or am not a writer of fiction.

I do not have to justify my time to anyone who isn't either paying for it or in a close personal relationship.

At 09:18 Blogger Cecily said...

Phi...I think the most important thing to remember is that the internet is filled with people who belittle others to make themselves feel better. It's sad, but it's true. There are people that spend their time trying to find others to to belittle and correct. And I would wager that 90% of time they are incorrect themselves. Take a few deep breathes and remember that you don't have to defend yourself to anyone, but yourself (and possibly loved ones). Other people's opinions of you does not make you who you are.


At 09:33 Blogger One Sock Short said...

Crazy day here, so tick. Looking forward to reading later.

At 11:05 Blogger Hellie said...

Very wise words.

Na, your comment about Lady Catherine made me chortle!!

Have a lovely weekend all. My niece is 4 tomorrow, we're helping with her birthday party - 26 kids running around a village hall!!

At 12:18 Blogger Jess said...

I think you make a very good point about the fact that some people are Professional writers, but being such does not make them any more Real than writers who do not make it their living. There are lots of ways in which to lead a writing life. There's no right or wrong way to go about it.

I am very good at being a writer. I have not been very good at being a Professional, but I'm working on that. Being a professional and being a writer, to my mind, are very different things.

Being a writer and being published, as Na said, are also two very different things. I think a lot of people out there confuse the two. You can't use either one as a yardstick to determine how much a writer you are, or are not. They are only indicators of how much it is the main thing you do.

At 12:23 Blogger Jess said...

...and by "either one as a yardstick" I meant one's standing as either Professional or Published. So that didn't come out well. Sometimes I'm not very careful when I make with the sentences and that. OMG, -5 Realism Points! Time to give up and get a job a Target.

At 14:50 Blogger dabbler said...

DG, she is indeed. And likes to keep me on my toes, which is wonderful. that's the good kind of me break old habits, and continue growing.

Fiends do that, too. Thanks.

At 14:58 Blogger Chantrelle said...

I, too, am a mom first. A food writer second. I don't make money doing either. A wedding minister third. That makes me a little money but it's not who I am. The first two are me. I took a few years off when I got pregnant with ben through my wrist injuries. Boss once introduced me to someone as the person who "used to do food porn"...that crushed me and I got my voice software working and dove back in right after that.

I enjoy writing about food. It's a passion that I hope always stays and I *try* to make time for it, but, you know, it doesn't always happen. So be it. I still do food porn!

At 16:37 Blogger dabbler said...

ticky doodle

At 18:09 Blogger Fluffy said...

I personally think we should get together more often. In our spare time, of course...

At 18:16 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Long day, and I wasn't the one traveling round the world. Don't think anyone will need me for the next 8 hours.

Except Mads, who has locked herself out of the house where all her clothes are and has nothing to WEAR out tonight.

Apparently, what she has on now is good for hanging out at someone's house but not GOING out in.

No riding tonight, my Melissa has maybe a concussion. (She's ok, no worries, just no riding tonight)

It's freezing and I could be asleep now...Tired. Ah, St Pats gigs...

At 18:29 Blogger Jill said...

I'm not sure this is totally pertinent to the conversation, but I've always loved this passage from The Velveteen Rabbit. Even if it doesn't lend itself well to the subject at hand, I hope you enjoy it anyway.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When
you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit
by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

At 18:40 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Jill, that's lovely, thanks for reminding us. I thought it fit.

At 18:46 Blogger Chantrelle said...

That is a beautiful passage Jill! Thanks!

At 22:09 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Did anyone know that All About Steve is a seriously funny movie for smart people? NOT what the marketing would have had one think.

Turns out it ISN"T a stupid romantic comedy.WHo knew? Loved it.

Maddy is sleeping, may stay here tonight.

At 00:53 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Home now. Watched some Mighty Boosh with Mads when she woke up. She is home now, at the other house and I am curled up by my fire, with tea.

At 01:14 Blogger Ticia said...

Welcome home. That sounds delightful. Nighty-night.

At 08:00 Anonymous Anonymous said...


My name is Eva.

I'm excited to be part of this large and growing forum of great people and thankyou all for making me feel welcome. I just joined today.

My special interests or skills are:
- Web design
- Internet business

I am happy to help others that need it and offer advice where possible :)

At 19:03 Blogger Fluffy said...

Hello, Eva! Welcome to the finest assemblage of Fiends the world will ever see.

At 20:04 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Fluffy, you're slaying me here.

At 20:11 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Yes, our new Fiend! Do you think she is also a Nigerian Businesswomen?

You know of course, I approved her, and our screening process is rigorous. In order to join, you must meet very high standards!

Spam is so strange. Does it really work on people? These sorts of things? Something has been spamming me on Skype lately, and the telemarketer calls have been going up too..

Oh, big news!

I am going to be riding Dim all the time very shortly! Anna is going to her new home, one of the little girls bought her, so it's all about me and Dim!

At 20:20 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Oh yah for Dim and Quiche.

Yeah, I've always wondered about spam too. Especially all those email ones clearly aimed at men. Does anyone ever open them, much less do anything further because of them.

At 21:23 Blogger Jess said...

Oh, I guess I should have mentioned this ages ago: I'm really a Nigerian princess, but Daddy lost everything, and I've been forced to live secretly as a diminutive American of mixed European descent for tax reasons. The short of it being that I need your bank details. Just temporarily. I'll give them back, honest. There's a 16-carat diamond in it for each of you! And a puppy.

Yay Dim! How is the riding going? It's neat how you two seem to have taken to each other-- that's a special thing. :)

At 21:30 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

I knew that about you Jess, always kind of liked it. Still waiting on that diamond tho and my bank account seems low...

I am learning SO much about riding. I've never ridden a horse as good as Dim before, he takes a lot of work. I'm having a proper lesson on Monday, I need one!

He has a lot of tricks that are getting trained out of him. I really want to be good enough to ride him , and do it well.

I brushed him forever today, he's shedding, and I braided his mane, and re taped his tail. (His tail is so long is drags on the ground, so it gets braided and put up, to keep it nice)

Riding tomorrow. Might have to do some BED soon here, wild evening..

At 21:51 Blogger vampi said...

awesome about riding dim full time. i'm still "vacationing." (still a bit in shock about grandpa in nursing home, but little improvements everyday, so finers still crossed) but didn't your horse trainer have an injury? is she ok?

At 22:02 Blogger ariandalen said...

W00T! Ms. Fabulous gets to ride Dim whenever she wants! ::happy dance::

Writers write. It doesn't matter what type of writing, as long as they write. I'm not sure that it matters whether anyone else reads what is written, and it certainly doesn't matter if it is published or not.

Storytellers tell stories; some actually happened, some are made up, and a lot are a combination. Not all storytellers write, nor are all writers storytellers. It doesn't mean one is superior to the other. Each has a place in the scheme of things.

At 00:52 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff [url=]lta chile[/url] the spot [url=]methylprednisolone and alcohol[/url] ith your [url=]sce discounts[/url] his book [url=]atenolol chlor[/url] continued exile [url=]epipen and production and cost[/url] his slightest [url=]overweight women estrogens hairy[/url] ask brothers [url=]side effects of meclizine[/url] and get [url='s-credit-card-bill/]goody's warn notice[/url] ends did [url=]barium diphenylamine sulfonate[/url] human genes [url=]technetium ecd[/url] came ashore [url=]ginseng and medicine[/url] the beginning [url=]salk contemporary[/url] should find [url=]fond du lac wi newspaper[/url] land for [url=]online pharmacy vicodin hydrocodone[/url] the ceiling [url=]sodium thiosulfate vs hydrochloric acid[/url] horrific implicatio [url=]cleo petites[/url] their sea [url=]table that tucks into sofa[/url] weighed more [url=]pep plus turbo backup[/url] exiled one [url=]diphenhydramine hcl for sleep[/url] that back [url=]purified compressed air[/url] most feasible attanes.

At 00:58 Blogger Na said...

I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I needed it

- John Cage

At 01:21 Blogger Dragonsally said...

well damn, you're nice to spammers, so they spam you!

At 01:37 Blogger Na said...

Sadly, being not nice to spammers likely does not at all discourage them. :P

At 02:38 Blogger Kimberly said...

It must be kitten season because now I have a big kitten and a little kitten! Who would have thought Ziggy would be the big kitten?

At 03:23 Blogger Na said...


You know, way back when I was a little kitten like you, Rocky...

At 03:40 Blogger Dragonsally said...

so much awwww, there. Where does Rocky sleep?

At 09:23 Blogger Kitty Cat said...

hello from Yo Gabba land--
this is a terrific point you make here Quiche, and i have not the time now to read completely the commentary, but i will, today is LAST day of the tour, thankyouverymuch.
Writing is something that i feel so close to and i use for so many things, it is a very personal thing and i am grateful to writers everywhere whose words I can read.
Am also very grateful that i grew up in a family of readers and am in love with a reading man. Nothing else would work! thanks for all your words, Q & know what i mean...

At 16:25 Blogger Fluffy said...

Hm. Unintelligible spam. I guess if you're going to get it, garbled is best.

And I think Princess Jess is the greatest. I was thinking, "Diamond? Ho hum," but then I saw PUPPY!!! Oooh.

I'm glad the riding is going so well. It's wonderful to do something you want that much.

Not going to type more here, as I have a humongous Binky spread all over my lap, which makes this activity a bit hazardous.

At 17:58 Anonymous Anonymous said...

i genuinely adore your own writing style, very remarkable.
don't give up as well as keep creating due to the fact that it simply just good worth to follow it.
looking forward to see much more of your current well written articles, thanks!

At 18:58 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

New blog is coming tonight. Let the excitement build....

Me and my horsie!

At 19:59 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

New Post is UP!

Where are you????

At 15:12 Blogger Steph said...

Ah this has nothing at all to do with the writing part of the post (sorry!), I just had to say how much I absolutely adore that cat house! My little darling would go bananas for that! lol

but in regards to your blog, since I have I stumbled across your blog , I have really enjoyed reading what you have to say and I think that is truly the key to being a good writer!

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home