This is the first entry in my brand new web comic entitled “Graphic Questions”. I’ve been thinking about the word “writer” and its true definition. I hope this comic strip will start an engaging conversation for those of us who love the craft of writing or any other type of art. Feel free to comment with your thoughts!
I am re-reading a Harlan Ellison edited anthology from the early 70s; the authors in these volumes are some of who many of us would call Writers. As I read their personal introductions I noted that none of them feels worthy of the title, despite having worked/gotten paid for writing. Having won awards, &c.
A published writer is someone whose work has been published in some format.
A paid writer is someone who has been paid for work.
A career writer is someone who has an ongoing chain of published or paid work.
It is all in the qualifiers: a writer is simply someone who writes.
When you do the action which the verb describes – A to first Q – but it doesn’t define who you are it describes an action which you are doing.
As for feeling unworthy of titles such as artist or writer, there are so many people already using those titles and it’s hard to know what someone means when they use them, why not invent a word which describes to you what you do and maybe also who you are, a word which you feels worthy to you of you?
Skip the MFA.
I think one reason many of us struggle with applying the title to ourselves is the social pressure that comes with being a “writer.” Once you’ve claimed the title, people start to expect a certain caliber of work and a degree of success (however you define it). If writing is simply a hobby, you are free to fail, but once you are a writer, you get psyched out. My advice is to forget what people think and own it. You’re a writer if you say you’re a writer. Keep up the great work!
You suffer from a common ailment in which you feel undeserving because you don’t measure up to your own standards. But, why? Everyone else is doing it, hair cutters, cookie cutters, nitwitters, cartoon moguls, arbitrageurs. Doesn’t that mean it must be the thing to do? Who doesn’t want to become an artist these days? You may have to come to grips with the fact, as many do, that you live in the wrong century. It could be any century and still be wrong
check out another take on the ruthlessness of verbs;
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