I will start by saying this is a rant, brought on by one too many people shoving the idea that if you don’t want to be published you’re not a ‘real’ writer. I’ve heard it in multiple places, from multiple know-it-all asses.
I call bullshit on that.
Do you write blog posts, journals? Private journals? Stories that are your precious, secret things that you just can’t bear anyone seeing? Poetry? Songs? Limericks? Guess what? You’re a writer.
That’s right. You are a writer. Do you know why? Because you write. It’s just that simple.
Repeat after me; if you write, no matter what your ultimate goals are FOR that writing, you’re a writer. If you have trouble remembering it, scribble it on a post-it note and put it on your mirror, tattoo it backwards on your forehead. If you write, you’re a writer. Period. And don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.
Let it sink in and we’ll move on to the next issue that has completely, 100% pissed me right the hell off.
**takes a deep breath**
There is this idea that if you need emotional support as a writer you shouldn’t be writing. This idea is so asinine, so blatantly stupid that it makes my head hurt. I’ve seen it often, usually spouted by someone who doesn’t have a real strong grip on reality and human interactions. Sadly I see it spouted on social media where gullible new writers could and do stumble on it.
You see as a writer we communicate with each other. Often for emotional kickback. I tell someone I’m not well, I get hugs. I get the emotional kick that someone gives a damn about me, and though I still might feel ill, I emotionally feel better knowing that someone cares. Humans communicate and often it is laced with emotion. When I write, or read, I am going on an emotional journey.
I am, last I checked, human. Humans are social animals. Most of us want to be around, or in contact with other humans on some level or another. It is how we are put together. I remember in Stephen King’s The Stand, the character Glen(I think), talked about how people after catastrophe would gather together in groups. It always stood out to me, because it rings true. Many people want to be around people.
We want to share experiences, we want to be acknowledged. When a friend got a rejection letter on a project, myself and others rallied around her, gave her ehugs and encouragement. When another friend lost someone in his family, again there was emotional support for him. It’s the human thing to do. It’s natural. It’s good.
Writers often write about people, people who catch our imagination. We are moved emotionally in one way or another towards characters. Ever seen UP? The first 15 min is almost exclusively without words, yet it is a poignant and emotional journey. I have not met anyone yet who has not shed a tear while watching that part.
We, as writers, have an obligation I guess you could say, to give the reader an emotional connection with the characters. I read Neil Gaiman’s Neverware, not for the main character (he annoyed the shit out of me) but because I wanted to know what happened to a minor/sidekick character. I was emotionally caught up in HER story (I would LOVE to see a sequel, because there were a lot of unanswered questions about her).
Having an emotional support group as a writer, can be a GREAT THING. Being able to interact with other writers often gives a writer an opportunity for learning, growing, and expanding as a person and as a writer. I’ll admit, not everyone needs it, not everyone desires it, that’s OKAY. I’m not saying you HAVE to find an emotional support group. But to spout off that if you DO feel you need it, that you shouldn’t be in the writing business, is arrogant and self-defeating. Spouting it on a social network platform; facebook, livejournal, blogger, twitter or any of those… well it makes me wonder about a person’s IQ.
Every person, every writer is on their own journey. And with writing there is no ONE WAY to do it. Just because MY way isn’t YOUR way doesn’t mean I’m better than you, or that you are better than me, it means we work in different ways. But I WILL object to you spouting off that YOUR way is the BEST and ONLY way and acting like you know it all. You don’t. I don’t. I’ve heard authors, who have been in this business for DECADES, talking about learning new things. You should never stop learning as a writer.
If you’re naïve enough to believe you know it all, I think you’re going to be in for a huge shock. I worry about the new writers who come so full of hope and dreams only to be crushed under the wave of arrogant ‘advice’ out there by people who don’t have a fucking clue what the hell they are doing let alone telling OTHER people how to do it too. I’ve seen too many new writers get jaded and overwhelmed by that sort of ‘advice’.
Go write, whatever it is that moves you, that you feel pulled to write. You’re a writer. No matter how many shoulders you need to lean on, or how few. No matter if you want to get published traditionally, self publish or a hybrid of the two, or keep your writing to yourself in a secret drawer. You are a writer. And don’t let anyone, ANYONE convince you otherwise.