Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blogger or writer

I write, but am I a writer? I've been mucking around with this question for quite some time. Then, being the good blogger I am - I decided to blog about it. Or is that write about it?

Anyone who knows me can tell you what I did next. – Yep – I Googled it – using the search terms "can I call myself a writer". There were 19,700,000 hits. That's right, over nineteen million. Since this topic has been so thoroughly covered, it seems a bit redundant to go over all the same stuff, so I'll just touch on a few thoughts about my own writing.

I like to write – well, sort of – in a masochistic, therapeutic, self-purging kind of way. Maybe 'like' isn't the right word. Sometimes it's an excruciating, paper-cut-bathed-in-vinegar, wrench-it-from-my gut process; and sometimes it's an intense, pounding-on-the-keyboard-'til-it-smokes race to the last paragraph, sentence and period. Occasionally, the words and ideas flow – the metaphors make sense and precise words conveying exactly what I mean pop into my head without the aid of a thesaurus. The latter doesn't happen all that often – at least for me. Maybe it's because I've been only dabbling at this writing thing on and off and not taking it very seriously; maybe it's because I'm just not very good at it. Whatever the reason, it's not always easy.

So why do it? Because I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea that I'm afraid I'll forget if I don't write it down; because when I haven't written anything for awhile, ideas and topics keep surfacing that beg me to write about them; because it's a way for me to think out loud and analyze my thoughts in critical black and white; because, one day, I'd like my children to read my deepest, inner thoughts; and because I need to get the words and thoughts out or I'll explode. -- So, I write.

Mainly, it's a hobby. Would I like to be published? You bet. I have this fantasy that I'll become the oldest newly published author in Canada – but I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, I'll just keep on blogging, doing little writing exercises, journaling, and filing away all my little bits and pieces that I write between midnight and 3 a.m.

Does any of this allow me to call myself a writer? I still don't know. Writer sounds too presumptuous, too professional, too Stephen King, Amy Tan, Kazuo Ishiguro.

Maybe I'm just someone who needs to get the words out and it's why I find blogging so appealing. There are no constraints, no deadlines and almost anything goes.

I think Woody Cavenaugh expressed my confusion most succinctly, "Am I a blogger who writes, or a writer who blogs, or a writer of blogs."

And so ends, another ramble.


Anonymous said...

Lately I have been reading the blogs of "real writers," or published authors, and you know what? I haven't found one that's as good as any random blogger on my blogroll. I don't know what this means; maybe we just get better writing in the format that we write most often?

Anonymous said...

Before I started blogging I never even considered putting my thoughts to paper. Now I find it helps me focus and better understand myself. Personally I do not consider myself to be a writer.. strictly a blogger.. but I do love to do it.

Anonymous said...

i don't consider myself a writer, i journal/blog. but i guess at the end of the day potay-to/potaw-to. right?

but all your reasons for being here are mine. i have to get on that 3 am creative writing spurt. pen and paper beside the bed, because too often i've thought of something worthy of the giller prize only to have lost it in the brain mist by morning.

Anonymous said...

The sad part is when you think you've written something incredibly insightful at 3 a.m. only to find out it's drivel in the light of day! :D