Maybe You’re Not Really a Writer

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t’s a double whammy holiday weekend. A kick off to the season. Not for me personally, but when the great republic to the south is on holiday, we feel it up here.

International business grinds to a momentary halt. Weekly TV programming skips a beat. Social media banality goes through the roof.

For me it’s an extra great time for writing. In fact even holidays in which I participate, are great times for writing.

There’s something conducive in the chaos. The upset of our daily routine. And when it’s someone else’s holiday so much the better. So much more spare time. Time for writing.

The very concept of taking time off from writing is a hard one for me.

I know, this goes against a commonly held preconception about writers. That writers are lazy. That we have to be pushed or pulled to do any work at all. Never understood where that notion originated. Probably because, until recently, I didn’t know many writers.

But now I get it. I’ve seen the lethargic layabouts. Heard them whine about not being able to, y’know, get into it, man. It’s just so hard to get started…

No, it’s not. And maybe, if it is, you’re not really a writer.

I’m throwing down the gauntlet. I’m reclaiming the word.

The term artist once conjured images of Michelangelo and Van Gogh. In the last 70 years however it’s been co-opted. Corrupted by grubby hipster slackers who’s only talent is writing counter-culture manifestos and collecting grants to go dumpster diving for things to hang on gallery walls. By today’s standard the word “artist” could not be applied to Michelangelo. He’d be laughed off as a mere mural painter. A tradesmen working on commission for the establishment. The church no less. Alive today, Michelangelo would be painting snowmen on supermarket windows.

Alive five hundred years ago, the hipster “artist” would be shoveling out stables.

I don’t want the word “writer” to succumb to the same fate. This is the digital age. The keyboard age. So everybody writes. But not everybody is a writer. And sadly it’s still the lazy drunks who are being award the term.

No. We can do better than this, my fellow scribes.

Celebrate your holidays. Then celebrate this opportunity. The opportunity to write. Hone your skill. Tradesman? Sure. Proudly.

It beats shoveling horseshit.

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5 Comments

Filed under Misadventures

5 responses to “Maybe You’re Not Really a Writer

  1. mel

    Hmmm, I wonder if I’m really a writer in the mind of a paid writer.

    I feel like one. If I write, and my words affect even one person, then I am a writer! Even if they affect no one, aren’t I still a writer for putting thought to print?

    If these lowly drunks never write anything, then obviously they cannot call themselves writers.

    But would a mere blogger who makes her existence through futilely mundane practices, but puts fingers to keyboard to express her imagination, her emotive response to life, her failings as a human… Is she a writer?

    Just curious…

    • Let’s go easy on the term “paid writer” until further notice, Mel. :-)

      Is getting paid the defining quality? I don’t think so. Van Gogh never got paid and people seem to dig his paintings. If just writing is the qualifier for a writer, maybe improving is the defining quality of a captial “W” Writer. Growing. Having a voice beyond merely transcribing thoughts.

      If, as you say, your words affect even one person, I’d say you’re miles ahead of those who just talk about writing.

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