Thursday, June 23, 2011
I continue to think, when I have time to think, about what it means to self identify as a writer. the Merriam Webster online dictionary defines a writer as:
and author as
I guess I fit the definitions - I've written self help books in my professional field and I've written, and continue to write, fiction. I love to write - or, maybe I don't love to write as much as I feel discomforted when I'm not writing. I guess that means I need to write, likely because of some twists and turns in my neural pathways that formed in utero or through my early childhood experiences. Who knows and who cares?
It's easier to self identify as other characters in my life. I called myself a mom as soon as I had a child. I didn't think I had to have a certain number of children to qualify for the title although I went on to have 13 more. I called myself as a therapist as soon as I had the degrees and training to acquire the licensing and professional qualifications to do so. I didn't wait till I had a particular number of clients and I didn't wait till I determined if I was any good at it.
Yet, I hesitate to call myself a writer, or an author, and I don't know why. In some part of my mind I have the weird belief that I can't take on that title until I make my living at it - or at least the majority of my living. Where did that idea come from? Again, who knows and who cares, it's just there.
I also question why I need to call myself anything - okay, I know that one - it's because I'm a practical type who likes labels and categories and diagnoses and so forth. And it's because writing is what I want to do and a writer, whatever that means and however I become one in my own mind, is what I want to be.
This picture is of Charlotte Bronte - author of my favourite book - Jane Eyre - against all odds she self identified as a writer.
Do you call yourself a writer? When did you accept that as a means of self identification?