You’re Not a Writer if…

Writerly Rant #49

creative_writingby M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor. Freelance Writer.

I was told a while back, no confronted would be a better word, with why it’s taken me so long to publish my first novel if I initially drafted it over ten years ago. The man basically said, “What have you been doing if you haven’t been writing?” Sure that sounds innocent enough and looks innocent enough on the screen here but his tone of voice belied his true intent:

“How can you call yourself a writer if you’re not writing every day?”

First off – I never said I wasn’t writing every day and

Second off – even if I wasn’t writing every day that doesn’t make me any less of a writer.

I don’t understand people (writers and non-writers alike) who place absolutes on creativity – it’s ignorant. And just because I wasn’t working on my novel (or the next one) during all that time, doesn’t mean I had oodles of time to sit on my duff and smell the roses. I drafted lesson plans for the many classes I taught, I edited English assignments from poetry to creative writing to essays and beyond, I worked with Beta Readers and writers groups to see that I had the best possible product for my debut novel, I went back to school to upgrade my English qualifications for teaching, and – oh yeah – I gave birth and raised my infant son.

It rubs me raw how some people can get so high and mighty when it comes to the “qualifications of being a writer.” I’ve also run across those people who believe that ‘good’ writers always have a note pad or paper and something to write with no matter where they are – so they can jot things down that come to them or compose at whim.

Bull S**t! and La-dee-da.

Just because I don’t wave my practice in the faces of the general public or stuff my writing book under curious onlookers’ noses doesn’t mean I don’t eventually get around to jotting down an idea or two. Quite frankly, most of my plot lines originate from dreams – I just happen to be one of those people who dreams the same way I watch a movie… and in colour. When I write, if something has stayed with me I will seek to include it in my prose – if I didn’t write something down that I thought of and then I forget about it, in my mind it wasn’t worth remembering and writing about in the first place. My memory works best while I’m creating. I develop a scene and then I’m able to access relatable instances in my life to help make it real for readers on the page. I don’t need to keep an indexed file of random thoughts and ponderences in order to write believably (and I’m not saying that anyone who does is pretentious, they just work differently than I do).

Honestly, what gives anyone the right to judge how I operate creatively? I have never once followed stereotype or succumbed to being a follower. I’ve paid the price for standing on my own two feet and living my life, my way – no one is going to start dictating how I, a writer, should behave.

So go stuff it.

And like my grandmother always says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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Categories: Rants, Writerly Rants

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. You might want to correct the homonym confusion in your title.

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  2. I love this. I feel like we have similar writing processes. And I definitely agree with the sentiment about things forgotten probably not being worth it to write out.

    Seeing as you’re a teacher, would you mind my asking if you also run into problems with other writers questioning your reading priorities? I know I’ve been questioned by people who think I’m lazy for spending more time with science textbooks rather than the bestsellers list of my preferred genre for writing.

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    • Hi H.L.,

      It sounds like you could write a good rant about reading preferences for writers – lol!
      Yes, I do get grief for my reading preferences and for not reading ‘enough’ sometimes. I’m in the middle of that right now as I’m working with several clients editing their work instead of reading books in “my genre” to better inform my own writing practices. I think that as long as you get around to reading at least one ‘story’ book in your genre a year then no one can claim you don’t have ideal reading priorities! If you love reading non-fiction science then dig in and enjoy – we all pull inspiration from varying sources and any one way of “doing it” doesn’t work for everyone. The only reason I suggest reading at least one story in your genre/year is so that you are still able to remain in touch with what is being written and your own writing isn’t happening in a bubble 🙂

      Happy Writing!

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