Monday, February 19, 2007

Am I a writer?

The question I posed for this entry is: Am I a writer? That’s a hard question (at least for me) to answer. Do I enjoy writing? Yes. Have others told me I have some talent at it? Yes. Am I serious about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and telling a story? Not really. I’d like to, but I haven’t been doing it.

My day job is not related to writing at all. I am not a novelist, editor, reviewer, journalist, or teacher. Recently I have been writing a lot of documentation at work for people above and below me in the food chain. But it’s not creative. I’m just writing about the way things work and the way things should work.

I used to write a lot of fiction when I was younger: stories for myself, stories for school, I even did a whole series of comic books despite being a horrible artist. One of my English teachers in high school approached the drama coach to see if I had plagiarized a one-act play because he thought it was that good. I started a novel and handed the first couple chapters into a creative writing teacher who said “can’t you just see it as a movie?”. [PS. My inspiration ran out at around 11,000 words and it hasn’t been finished nearly a decade later.]

Like most authors, though, I get inspired by the world around me. While driving to work the other day, I saw the name on the side of an 18-wheeler and on the spot I came up with a new character for a story idea that’s bouncing around in my head. I see TV shows setting up the climax of the episode and I play the scene out in my mind (usually different from what shows up on the screen). I get pleasure out of reading a smart sentence in a book and wish that I could come up with something just as good to give someone else the same pleasure.

There are a couple short stories I want to crank out before I get started in a novel. I’m hoping this will help me find my voice again and exercise the muscles that I haven’t used in a while. Kind of like running short distances over a long period of time while training for a marathon. Maybe I should just dive into the novel right away, but I don’t want it to end up like that 11k Word document copied from hard drive to hard drive in hopes that one day it’ll be finished. One thing I said I’d do this year, call it a resolution if you must, is to spend at least one hour every Saturday morning writing. Just to get back into the habit. There’ve been 7 Saturdays so far, and I haven’t done it even once.

Maybe it depends on what your definition of a writer is. If I ask myself if I am a writer, the honest answer is no. But I hope to be.

No comments: