What makes a writer – am I a writer?

I think most of us who write and publish only through a blog post play around with the idea of what makes a writer. Am I a writer? Can I call myself a writer?  Maybe I am a writer but not an author. I at least at this point in my life have not published a book so I am not an author but can I call myself a writer? I do have a blog I write for – really I have two blogs – although one is often lost in the shuffle of my everyday life.

In my mind it comes down to the difference between a writer and an author. There are lots of us who write – we write journals, blog posts, speeches, notes to your classrooms, letters to parents, staff, and family. We write – there for we are writers. Correct?

Ah but then my mind goes racing to the thoughts of those writers who write daily. They feels that need to put words to the page (paper or digital) every single day. They keep their journal going, they post on their blog often. Words just tumble out of them and they really can’t help it. My husband is one of those writers although he also has books he has worked on that are published so he fits into the author category as well. He writes daily, It is clear he is at a loss if he has not taken time to sit down with his computer to write at least sometime during the day. He has to write. He is part of the people I think of as “real writers.”

So where do I fit into this term writer? I love to write but often find it hard. I don’t have to write daily but after not writing for a few days or weeks I am out of sorts and feel the need to sit down to write something, anything. I am part of a writers group that meets about once a month or so. I have several books started but not finished or finished but not in a state I am willing to have edited or sent to a publisher.

I write and I write a lot compared to many folks I know but I can’t keep a journal going, I can’t seem to finish my manuscripts and I have fallen off the wagon in regards to my blogs. The last I posted was August 22  (how could I not I was watching the eclipse).

These 750 words really are just me playing with the idea of what I think a writer should be. The should is the problem. I watch, listen and read the words of so many wonderful writers and I think I am a “want to be” writer. I want to do that! Write!

I want to be more consistent with my writing. I want to finish my manuscripts. I want to kick up my garden blog and post more often. I need to get back to my Words from JL blog and post weekly.  I find myself being a sometime writer but a want to be full time writer.

Publishing would be great but not really a major goal of mine. For me it is the desire to write consistently, the ability of keep a journal going or a blog going. I seek the ability to persist at the task of writing daily even if I find it hard.

I have never been good at daily tasks. When teaching elementary grades I was terrible at teaching the calendar – it was a daily task and I just didn’t care. I was lucky to find some kids who liked that routine and I just assigned it to them and let them take care of it. Exercise and yoga are always hard for me – I know I need it. It feels great when I can do it 5 or 7 days in a row but I always fall off and then I always come back. Right now I am working on a daily speed walk each morning. (I have made it one whole month – not bad for me!)

I guess my writing is much the same way. I am good for a few weeks and then I get side tracked but I always find my way back to the page. I am a sometime – want to be full time writer.

I guess I really can’t complain or worry to much. I at least come back to words and find my way into writing every few weeks. Heck ,what is in a name really?  So for today as I sit on a sunny fall afternoon and write I will call myself a writer!

How about you? Do you have a regular writing routine or are you a sometime writer like me?  What keeps you writing or what stops you?  Have you thought about how your students feel about being writers? If we find it hard to write daily what about them?

I end this post with no real answers just thinking about how to be a daily writer and what helps to make our students daily writers as well!  But I do know now we should call ourselves writers even when we are not daily writers! Writers are people who write!


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What makes a writer – am I a writer?

  1. bohemiotx says:

    My writing is erratic, partly because I’m such a Twitter fanatic. I wrote a textbook for my class: Developmental English/Writing. I just dug up a cool chapter section earlier. #SOL17

  2. Kate Schwarz says:

    I love this–we are on the same wave length, and I sliced about quitting writing. Specifically, quitting writing children’s books with the intent to publish them. And yet, here I am, writing a little because that’s what I need to do. I’m wrestling with the question: what should I write? I loved your thoughtful, question-filled piece!

  3. mbhmaine says:

    You asked some great questions. I question my “writing identity” fairly frequently, especially because I don’t have a WIP (work in progress). I agree though, that I feel out of sorts if it’s been a while since I’ve written. Weekly blog commitments really help me, but I do struggle with regular daily writing, especially now that school’s back in session.

  4. rosecappelli says:

    I was intrigued by your post because I often question what makes a writer a writer. I still have trouble calling myself a writer even though I am an author. Why? I’m not sure. Like you, I go through periods of needing to write and not writing. One line that resonated with me is “…but I always find my way back to the page.” I think that makes you a writer.

  5. You summed it up perfectly with your last sentence. I do wonder if I qualify though. I feel like such an impostor at times. Love the food for thought!

  6. Holly Duggins says:

    So true! depending on the day I sometimes think and tell people I am a writer. Then I think about it more and realize I don’t write often, yet I aspire to! Perhaps I just need to write and write and never stop then I would have no need to wonder if I am a writer at all. Regardless the key is that we write, even if it isn’t consistent!

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