Yes, I’m a Writer

I stutter and blush every time someone asks me about my profession.

“I’m a writer,” I mumble. “But nothing creative or interesting.”

For six years, I’ve spent virtually every day putting pen to paper. Or, more accurately, putting finger to keyboard. I’ve written thousands of pages, strung together millions of words and dealt with hundreds of clients.

Yet, when asked what I do, I don’t feel that I’ve earned the official title of writer.

Perhaps it’s because when I imagine the quintessential writer, what comes to mind is a creative genius, or a drunk a la Hemingway. Perhaps it’s because I see what I do, crafting web content for banks and travel agencies, as selling out. Perhaps it’s because once you factor in SEO keywords and bounce rates, the romance of writing is all but dead.

How else, though, can I describe what I do? Every day, thousands of words flow from my fingertips, and someone pays me for each one. What is that, if not writing?

My poems may not make it out of my journal, and my creative short stories never see the light of day, but my banking newsletters are seen by thousands. I should give myself some credit, too, for adding in a Thoreau quote to the most recent travel pitch, and for sneaking that pun into the financial brochure.

So here’s to you, comparative literature majors displaying your knowledge in 140-character tweets. And to you, too, history graduates writing technical manuals five days a week. Pre-law students, I admire your dedication to the craft of blogging for small businesses. We may never win a Pulitzer Prize, but we’re writers all the same.

Now go have a drink — it’s what Hemingway would have wanted.

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