Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Writers write

This is one of my best hawk pictures, taken just a few days ago -- and the reason why I take my camera everywhere I go.

Today was my day to try and get caught up on some of the DTF work and the Vision work. I did a fair job, to be honest. I still have to print out some checks and envelopes for Vision, but mostly I’m caught up there. And I'm almost doing as well on the other. I at least have all the novel submissions listed on the tracking page finally!

Now I need to get back to writing work for the night. I've kind of had to move everything else off my desk so that I don't get distracted by things I think I should be doing instead.

Hmmm... I've discovered that doesn't actually work if you have something like a link to Bryce sitting on your desktop and you suddenly remember something you MUST try..... (Okay, forced myself to close that EVIL program down before it sucks up any more of my time!)

Just can't remember how to do it. Have to go look that part up again, but not right now. Right now I'm going to do some writing.

On that note...

People are probably wondering why I'm still interested in the 'wannabe' conversation. Part of it is just that I enjoy finding out what others think and trying to see what makes their vision of the world different from mine. As many of you here know, you aren't required to agree with me. I will not call you jerks or demand that you don't post on my blog if you say something contrary to what I believe. It's a big world and I'm not a little 'artiste' who has to be pampered. People disagree with me all the time.

One of the sayings at Forward Motion -- one that Holly had put up there -- is 'Writers write.' At FM there was never any other qualification to call yourself a writer. There's a lot more to being a published or professional writer, but that's true of many professions. I knew a singer who started out performing at fairs and open mike nights at local clubs. She now has a few paying gigs. She was, nonetheless, a singer before she was paid. I've known people who draw pictures or paint who do so only for themselves, but they are still artists. I've known some incredibly good photographers who have had less material than me printed, and they are quite obviously photographers.

Why should writers be any different? Why do you have to be a wannabe if you have not been paid for the work yet? What makes the difference in you if something you wrote six months ago is suddenly published? How can you suddenly -- having had no further contact with that story -- suddenly be transformed from a wannabe to a writer by the acceptance? Does that mean you weren't a real writer when you wrote it? And now, suddenly, you are changed. You no longer want to be a writer. You suddenly are!

It just doesn't make sense to me. In some ways, I suppose, even aspiring writer or any of the other terms, have the same problem -- just less of the negative impact that wannabe has for some people.

I think this is the interesting point in the discussions going on the last few days. One attitude seems to come from a need for outside vindication of the work and the other comes from an acceptance of the work as important just for itself. Both groups will still keep moving toward the same goals, but (at least I feel) the ones who accept that they are already writers have a more Taoist approach to the work, in some ways. The work flows over them, and they become part of the work. They're not worried about whom they will sell it to later. The work alone is what matters.

Or maybe that's just my approach. Personally, people, I think if you are out there writing stories, you are writers. If it helps, remember that in my own little way, I am also an editor and a publisher. I give you permission to be writers. (grin)

With continued hard work you'll all be published writers, too, and likely do far better than I have. I've read material from some of you. I know you have talent. You are not wannabes. You are writers. Some of you just aren't published writers yet.

It works best if you have a lot of time to experiment and you're willing to write something that may not get published. You write for the love of writing, in other words, and sometimes you find the right story and the right place to sell it.

I'm not driven by publication. I love being published, but it is not what makes me a writer. I have stories to tell. I like it when others enjoy them, and I enjoy selling a few now and then -- but if I have an idea I want to write, I never consider whether there is a market for it or not. I just write it.

And writing is what writers do. (grin)


Gabriele C. said...

The reason I call myself "aspiring writer of historical fiction" on my blog is that if I left the aspiring out, people might think I'm already published and search Amazon for my books. It feels wrong, somehow, at least to me.

Carter said...

Good points, Zette. I call myself an aspiring writer meaning I am a writer who is not yet accomplished or published at professional rates. I am, in fact, a writer and have been most of my life. A wannabe, I am most definitely not, and I have the stories and articles to prove it.

Zette said...

Aspiring makes sense, really. It's a 'I'm working at it' word. (grin)

Cat said...

I totally agree with you Zette. Hence the term--starving artist--referring to all those great writers and artists who did not receive the money or recognition they deserved during their lifetimes. Writers and artists participate in the act of creating--for me, that is the definition. To my way of thinking, it is the act of creation, not the money or recognition, which is the defining factor.