Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Perspective: Am I a Writer?

I was fortunate enough to walk straight from my Masters degree in English Literature and into a job working in the arts. And not merely 'the arts' generally, but specifically a literature organisation. This has been a thrilling experience, and the job itself has provided opportunities to learn about fundraising, event management, online features, talent-spotting, budgets, social media... the list goes on.

I've also been fortunate enough to meet quite a few authors and poets of supreme talent (some of less supreme talent, but that's to be expected). The problem is, that when you're constantly being sent information about an author's new book, or review copies, or meeting internationally acclaimed writers, it can be a little intimidating. I'm constantly asking myself: 

Am I a Writer? 

Every day I encounter people who devote hours to the craft of novel writing, even between doing paid work.

Can I call myself a writer, when my working week is not devoted to ploughing on with my own novel (I have a chapter by chapter plot plan and 10,000 words I wrote three years ago), or even working on the poetry project that has been hovering on the edge of my consciousness for over six months, but to promoting other people's work? 

And I justify this lack of creative output to myself, by thinking about how I would love to have enthusiastic people like me, championing my writing in the future (if I ever do any). 

But it's not that I'm not writing... 

I seem to have no problem keeping up this blog, as a sort of diary of what I've been reading, but when it comes to creative writing my output has been poor to horrendous over the last six months. I have periodically sent poems from my mountainous pile of pre-full-time-employment-work, out to online journals and competitions, but this has been sporadic at best. 

The only (nearly) creative work I have done has been an essay for an academic journal, and even that might not find its way to publication (it must pass the peer reviewing process first). 

All of this is made worse by the fact that a good friend (and fellow English grad) has revealed that she's a good way into writing her first novel, inspiring me to panic that I'm wasting valuable writing time... 

Am I a writer? 
I certainly want to be.
I just need to sit down with a pen one weekend and see where it takes me.
I'll keep you appraised. 

In the spirit of promoting other people's work, do have a listen to Writer Bites, the first new writing podcast for writers in the South West, conceived of, planned, set up, and instigated by me, and me alone. At least someone is benefitting from my passion for literature... 


  1. Yes you blinking well are a writer. There are many that call themselves so and don't write a jot. You are, and always will be. And you got your job because you are a committed and hardworking individual who puts actions to your words.


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