Am I a writer?
Well, I write stuff. I write blog posts and short stories and flash fiction and I’ve written a novel. I write pieces of 140 character micro fiction on Fridays and I write a journal.
But if you asked my friends or family: “What does Joanne do?” They’d reply, first of all: “She’s a teacher.” Then they might say: “she’s a foster carer to her nephew.” They might say she’s a bossy, cantankerous weirdo too, I don’t know. What I do know is that I doubt any of them would say: “She’s a writer.” Which is odd, given that I probably spend a quarter of my time doing just that, when I’m not teaching, parenting or doing chores.
I wonder if I had any of my work published, whether this would change. I’m pretty sure it would.
However, let’s take now, as now is where we’re at.
Do I class myself as a writer? If people ask me: “What do you do?” do I reply with: “I’m a writer?” Or “I write.” Well, the short answer is, no, no I don’t. Why? Why do I not say I am, when actually I write an awful lot?
The answer is I suppose two fold.
The main one being: I don’t earn a living from it. I write, but it’s a hobby really.
The second answer is more complex.
It is more to do with what I see of the writing community around me, whether they be published, none published writers/authors or traditional or indie published writers/authors. I don’t see myself as a writer yet, as I break practically every writing rule,ever conceived.(Mainly because I hate being told what to do. I’ll follow advice, sure, I’m not a stubborn idiot, but tell me something is black, set in stone and I’ll tell you it’s white and wobbly.)
So, here are 13 reasons I probably can’t consider myself a writer, just yet and why I won’t be published for a very long time! (< there’s one; right there.)
1) I do not send my short stories, flash pieces to magazines or other literary publications as I see many of my Twitter folk friends doing.
2) I do not plot and plan stories or novels or characters in any kind of detail.
3) I use adjectives as if they are going out of fashion.
4) I use cliches (see above ^) and adverbs excessively. (<)
5) I do not write every day or at a a set given time, or give myself word count goals. Not even when people on Twitter are screaming at each other to do so, as though if they don’t write, their arm might fall off.
6) I have no idea what characters are going to do in any given situation before I put them in a situation. I do not write them a full bio before I plonk them head first into a story. Fun! Try it!
7) I don’t read anywhere near enough. I average a novel every two months these days. Shocking. I therefore, according to Stephen King, “have no tools to write.”
8) My novel starts with a prologue.
9) My novel starts with a prologue featuring the main protagonist
10) The first actual chapter of my novel doesn’t introduce the protagonist.
11) It took me fourteen months to finish the first draft, not three as Stephen King recommends. Though I am not Stephen King…so.
12) I break pretty much every one of Elmore Leonard’s ten tips for writers (covered above) as well as a) I don’t only use said as a dialogue tag. b) I have opened a short story with a weather description. c) I have gone into detailed description in my novel at times because…well, TOLKIEN! d) And I have definitely used suddenly numerous times and more than 2 exclamation marks per 100,000 words.
13) I never follow writing rules. (except the laws of basic grammar and using active over passive, though I’m pretty sure I’ll have broken those too.)
What “rules for writing” don’t you follow? I’d love to know that I’m not the only law breaker out there..Come on, ‘fess up; you’ll feel so much better for it. 🙂