Saturday 15 October 2011

Yes, I Am A Writer...

I do know some writers who would deny themselves that description, but the majority of my writing acquaintances accept it.

Friday evenings I browse the online newspapers for book related items that might interest friends and provoke discussions. That was how I came across this article  'Am I a writer' in the Guardian books section by Rick Gekoski- who has had a number of non-fiction books published, and is also a book dealer.

His daughter, a forensic psychologist with numerous articles to her name ( and also a published author) said to him she was not a writer.  " "It's just a job of work," she said. "There's no art in it, no imagination or creativity, and no fuss. Writers always make a fuss.""

Now perhaps that is the scientist speaking, but is 'art' the difference between factual writing and fiction?
Do writers make a fuss? Though we don't have any explanation of what type of fuss she means, so perhaps we can ignore that statement...

I suspect it is really about how we define ourselves and the terms 'writer', 'author' and 'novelist'.

This is my personal view of those terms, so they won't necessarily reflect another person's opinion, or the dictionary definitions.

I am a writer because I write (with an aim to be published). Perhaps that moment when we say we are a writer-when someone asks what we do- is when we embrace the description and accept the mantle of writer as part of our identity.

When it comes to the difference between an author and a novelist, is it only me who feels that an author is anyone who has published a book, while the novelist is a term more applicable to writers of 'literary' fiction?

I'm interested in finding out how you view both yourself and the terms mentioned, so please share your views.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

Well, the scientist's view seems a bit strange! Yes, I think we are writers if we write regularly, whether published or not. To my mind, author and novelist are interchangeable, both meaning a writer who has published a book.

Helen Baggott said...

If you ask people 'what they do' they naturally assume you're asking what they do for a living.

There aren't many writers that make a living from writing.

To many writing is a hobby - like walking is to others. If you asked someone what they do, it's unlikely they'd say 'I'm a walker'.

However, writing is one of those oddities where you can actually do it without being employed to fulfill it.

Patsy said...

I'm a writer. I do sometimes make a fuss, but not about my writing.

Carolb said...

Thank you for those insights, Rosemary, Baggy, and Patsy.

Sadly few writers can afford to earn a living just from writing, so if they do good for them.