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Are you a 'real' writer?

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message 1: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 517 comments i judge by the dollars. apparently im still a poor starving artist but compared to everyone else in the hood i "made it" because those knuckleheads never thought of publishing their books.


message 2: by Angel (last edited May 02, 2015 11:39AM) (new)

Angel | 28 comments I judge by the process and how thorough I am before I have the next book published. I see myself as a real author who has gone through the process (25 years) of becoming a real writer to get to this point to call myself a real published author.


message 3: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) As opposed to what? An illusionary writer that only exists in your mind? lol

I would be wary of articles like the one B posted, no offense and thanks for sharing.

Here's the deal. Anyone can write. Any 6 year old can bang out enough words on a keyboard and be a writer by default. It means abolutely nothing.

Writing is a tool like any other. I could bang away with a hammer, but that wouldn't automatically make me a carpenter. A "real" carpenter would know how to use the tools of the trade to craft beautiful furniture.

There is no measurement, in my honest opinion. Frankly, if I imposed measurements, I would never finish anything. The only line a draw is finishing the story. The whole story, from beginning to end, fully realized and made "real." It's not about me. It's about the story.


message 4: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 175 comments I agree with Lily. I think having the ability to finish a story is probably a good benchmark. So many people start, but to give a story a good arc with beginning, middle and end? That's certainly, at the very least, the beginnings of a 'real' writer.


message 5: by Katheryn (new)

Katheryn Avila (katheryn_avila) Personally, I think a writer is anyone that writes and is passionate about it - whatever the genre. You don't have to be making a profit on your writing, and I don't even think you need to have all that many readers, really. As long as writing is something that you do that gives you satisfaction and happiness, you're a writer.


message 6: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I'm either a figment of your collective imagination or a manifestation of aetheric gestalt.

I'm leaning towards the latter since it sounds more prestigious


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Courtney wrote: "I'm either a figment of your collective imagination or a manifestation of aetheric gestalt.

I'm leaning towards the latter since it sounds more prestigious"


*chuckles*


message 8: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments Courtney uses big words and makes me cry...

But I agree with what most seem to be saying, in that anyone who actually writes is a real writer. There's a difference between "successful" or even "good" and "real."


message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Meh, they're all just words.


message 10: by E.G. (new)

E.G. Manetti (thornraven) Lily wrote: "The whole story, from beginning to end, fully realized and made "real." It's not about me. It's about the story...Meh, they're all just words"

What Lily, said.


message 11: by E.G. (last edited May 02, 2015 06:07PM) (new)

E.G. Manetti (thornraven) One other comment. You're a 'real writer' (or at least a novelist) when someone you don't know gives your work a 1-star review with no explanation.

You may not be 'winning' but you're in the game.


message 12: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 175 comments E.G. wrote: "One other comment. You're a 'real writer' (or at least a novelist) when someone you don't know gives your work a 1-star review with no explanation.

You may not be 'winning' but you're in the game."



Well, I qualify on that score!


message 13: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Cole (kevin_cole) Courtney wrote: "I'm either a figment of your collective imagination or a manifestation of aetheric gestalt.

I'm leaning towards the latter since it sounds more prestigious"


Joyce James strikes again :-D

Everybody knows real writers make lots of money and sell their paperbacks in every airport.


message 14: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) And the rest are imaginary writers hiding in a dark room and despairing about word count. Also known as monsters in the closet and the bogeyman.


message 15: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) I'm not a writer. I'm a meat popsicle.


message 16: by Renee E (last edited May 02, 2015 08:30PM) (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Yup. I'm real. A comment on one of my short stories I posted on GR says so. :p


message 17: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
What if I'm a legend in my own mind?

Crux of the question - "what does malignant narcissism and paradoxical hubris" get me?


message 18: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Courtney wrote: "What if I'm a legend in my own mind?

Crux of the question - "what does malignant narcissism and paradoxical hubris" get me?"


Therapy?


message 19: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Excellent. A captive audience.


message 20: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 517 comments bwahahahah yall :p


message 21: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) B. wrote: "Perhaps it's for a different thread, but I'd be curious to know if it was one or a number of incidents that made you sure you're a writer. I still wonder about m'self but then, I've had a month (ok, a couple of months. Six?) of doubt, and I've certainly written whole novels purely in my head. But this week I'm saying the doubt has helped me refine my block and get back to one of the stories I'm trying to finish."

Yeah, that's a tricky question. A new thread might open a huge can of worms. That's like asking, how do you know the sky is blue? You just know. But then you'll get the people who argue, no no, the sky is more like aquamarine. And by arguing, that's how you know.


message 22: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay You become a "real" writer when you have a published valuable work. Just that and as much as that.

Like Lily said - anyone can bang they keyboards and anyone can start and finish a story. It means nothing. And it doesn't make you a writer - it just makes you an author. Same as drawing some stickmen in Paint doesn't make you a painter or a cover artist. As simple as that.


message 23: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
lol B - I'm glad I could help in my own demented way :)


message 24: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 503 comments Jacek wrote: "You become a "real" writer when you have a published valuable work. Just that and as much as that..."

How do you define 'valuable'?


message 25: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments G.G. wrote: "Jacek wrote: "You become a "real" writer when you have a published valuable work. Just that and as much as that..."

How do you define 'valuable'?"


LOL this debate could go on forever couldn't it!


message 26: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Yeah, defining something like "valueable" could be argued until the cows come home.

Being an author is difficult to qualify, yet easy to quantify. X number of books, X number of sales, easy. Granted, a bit superficial.


message 27: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments But writers write more than books, or even short stories.


message 28: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Renee wrote: "But writers write more than books, or even short stories."

Exactly. Difficult to qualify since it's 100% dependent on the author.


message 29: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) I'd argue the easiest method of qualification for "valuable" would be if you've had at least one person connect to what you wrote. But writing one book 30 years ago and then disappearing doesn't make you a Writer, it means you Wrote A Book.

Or something. I'm still just a meat popsicle.


message 30: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Ashe wrote: "I'd argue the easiest method of qualification for "valuable" would be if you've had at least one person connect to what you wrote. But writing one book 30 years ago and then disappearing doesn't m..."

Say that to JD Salinger lol


message 31: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) You could argue that fact for Harper Lee as well, I think.

This is why meat popsicles are bad at serious discussion.


message 32: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments I honestly believe that *writer* is something you are, and you know it, within yourself. You feel that compulsion to write, no matter what.

Now, whether we're good, bad or indifferent writers is a completely different matter.


message 33: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) Well, that's the thing, I guess. A lot of career titles are pretty specific and some are kind of nebulous. "What does Frank do?" He's an accountant. That's pretty specific. If Frank was a doctor, most people would assume that meant medicine but chemists, astrophysicists, etc. are (usually) doctors too. Then you have Artist, which is so insanely nebulous as to be useless sometimes.

I think with Writer and Author, it kind of gets down to whether or not you attach Professional to the front. Professional writers might write novels, comics, screenplays, short stories, or even commercials. Professional authors write tend be those who write books or collections.

Of course, I could be speaking out of my prodigious backside, so, maybe that's still not useful to the question...


message 34: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments Ashe, you realize if you're a meat popsicle you have a stick up your...

In any case, this is another interesting topic. I think any who writes is a "real" writer, whether it's for public consumption or just for your own pleasure.


message 35: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) For the sake of definining terms, a writer of fiction is a craft, not a job. Doctor, accountant, etc, are jobs with clearly defined salary expectations. Writer? It could mean anything, or nothing at all.


message 36: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Amy Tan wrote an excellent essay on the difference between being called a writer vs. an author.

She chooses "writer."


message 37: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Semantics lol


message 38: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) Quentin wrote: "Ashe, you realize if you're a meat popsicle you have a stick up your...

In any case, this is another interesting topic. I think any who writes is a "real" writer, whether it's for public consumpti..."


Quentin, you can't set me up like that. I enjoy self-deprecating humor too much.


message 39: by Kevin (last edited May 03, 2015 11:32AM) (new)

Kevin Cole (kevin_cole) Would we even be having this discussion if it weren't for the ease of e-publishing?

Today, anybody can technically write a book and call themselves a writer.

But I'd like to think what I wrote qualifies as a real book while some middle-aged comb-over's reinterpretation of the Book of Matthew is but indulgence in intellectual fantasy.

Maybe the true test is the inability to stop. Will I still write even though it's not quite getting me to where I'd like to be? Unfortunately, yes.


message 40: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments The essay's in her collection, "The Opposite of Fate." Well worth a read for any writer — or author.


message 41: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Renee wrote: "I honestly believe that *writer* is something you are, and you know it, within yourself. You feel that compulsion to write, no matter what.

That "compulsion to write" has its own name. It's called graphomania. And believe me, it isn't something you should be proud of. :)

G.G. wrote: "How do you define 'valuable'?"

It's simple and it's all down to the audience. If the world (which means not only your target readers but readers at all + critics + any other significant group) finds your work valuable, it's valuable. If they don't, it's not.

@Ashe: an author is "broadly defined as >>the person who originated or gave existence to anything<< and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created". You wrote a book - you're an author. You drew a picture in Paint - you're an author.
A writer is someone, whose writing actually has value. If you can only draw stickmen, you're not a cover artist/painter. If your voice sounds like nails on a blackboard, you're not a singer/musician. And in the same way, if your writing sucks, you're not a writer. You're just an author.

So no, it's not "something you know you are, within yourself". And it's not about any compulsions or all that cheesy stuff. It's down to whether you're good at writing or not. And you don't decide that - the world does.


message 42: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments "Compulsion" doesn't have to be a mania, Jacek. You're using a clinical definition, which, in this instance, is inappropriate.

Compulsion, in its non-clinical usage, can be understood as a very strong desire to do something.


message 43: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Hmm, I'm going for door number 2 called bluntness.

You're a writer because you know how to use the tools of the trade (keyboard, pen, pencil) to craft a finished story that's been brought to life, using your own blood, sweat, and tears, then worried endlessy nothing will ever be good enough.

You are NOT a writer if you bang away at a keyboard like a trained monkey and firmly believe, in your own self-made delusion, that everyone is going to automatically love your precious masterpiece, and those who don't love it, just don't understand you.

In conclusion, having self-doughts is a positive sign.


message 44: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Renee, and that's what graphomania is all about. "A very strong desire" to write. I want to write so bad. I have to write. I need to write. I must Must MUST MUUUUUUUUST write. ;)

So, no, I still strongly disagree. A writer doesn't have to have any urge or desire to write. They just have to be GOOD at writing. And it doesn't have anything to do with their personality - it's their writing (and only their writing) that counts.


message 45: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Obviously, you and I are from two entirely different worlds, Jacek, and we're never going to agree on this.


message 46: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) To tell the truth, I'll never agree either. In the face of books like 50 Shades (it was bound to come up), obviously anyone can be a writer, be published, make an obscene amount of money without ever knowing how to construct a sentence in the English language.

I'll go back to my earlier statement. Difficult to qualify, yet easy to quantify.

At the end of the day, in my honest opinion based on my own experience, you're a writer because you decided you're a writer. Whehter the writing is good or not, is anyone's guess.


message 47: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Nightingale | 8 comments Ashe wrote: "I'm not a writer. I'm a meat popsicle."

Lol. The Fifth Element.


message 48: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Lily wrote: "...At the end of the day, in my honest opinion based on my own experience, you're a writer because you decided you're a writer. Whehter the writing is good or not, is anyone's guess. "

Cogito ergo sum


message 49: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Now we have to speak in latin? Talk about confusing.

Kidding. I get it.


message 50: by Renee E (last edited May 04, 2015 09:26AM) (new)

Renee E | 395 comments I think, upon reflection, that as far as external validation of writer-dom, if something I write is ever published by one of the university presses. That's real to me.


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