What kind of WRITER are You?
This picture, it highlights what my writing process feels like. Dump everything on the page,
I was reading a writing job post the other day here, go take a look. Tell Steve I sent you.
As I was reading this posting, thinking that it’d be awesome to be a writer for Nerd-Fitness, I felt my spirits slide from enthusiastic, through ‘it’s possible’ all the way down to ‘no chance in hell’.
I am not a research article writer. I can do it. I did so many times for my BBA in Business Management, as well as case studies for the CPA designation, but I hated every minute of it. I write stories, fiction, and lies for fun and profit.
I write stories, fiction, and lies for fun and profit.
Not all writers are created the same.
Note. I didn’t say they are not all equal. Can’t compare story and dissertation l, apples and oranges. Different writing requires different skills and skills can be learned and practiced. But what separates us from them as it were?
Not a clue. Nope. None. All I am certain of is that 'to each his or her own' is a real thing. You can’t teach a cat to bark (at least I don’t think you can).
And it is two hours later. Thanks Google. Apparently cats can bark, they just usually don’t.
Anyhow. Back to topic.
Writers are as different as any other defined group of humans. Actors. Salesmen. Accountants. Police officers. You name it and the group will cover a range, to define any group based on their adherence to one of two distinct alternatives is insulting at best, and heretical at worst.
Fiction or factual?
The first arbitrary break is always 'do you write fiction or fact based prose?’
But that sidesteps entire relevant segments of a writer’s drive to write.
Fiction based on facts is common.
Fiction based on conjecture,projection or hypothesis is even relatively normal. Science fiction is based on what if we could… scenarios.
Factual reporting based on fictional events is even possible. Consider a news reporter writing about a copy-cat crime spree based on events in a fiction novel.
There is truth in the axiom that -Reality is stranger than fiction- and to determine that fiction or non-fiction is a delineating factor is like syaing apples are better than oranges. Different, yes. Better, no.
Professional or part-time?
Shaunta Grimes tackled this more times than I can count. The Ninja Writers is full of amazing folks who blow this one out of the park and smash the lines to dust.
One one end of the spectrum we have folks like Jeff Goins and Shaunta herself who put heart soul and sixty hours a week into this gig. At the other end you have writers like myself who have a spare half hour a day to do some writing if the estate line up, otherwise we’re back to the ten minutes so we don’t leave gaps in our star road. *See Shaunta’s ten minutes a day and FRED tracking system, with a star rewarded each day for teh ten minutes invested.
Educational Dissertation or Narrative Story?
Also an arbitrary designation. I survived a Bachelors program in what is likely the most mundane field of study, accounting, then I went on to get my designation in that same field. I wrote hundreds of educational papers, essays, reports and what-not. Not one of those was based entirely on facts or educational material. Every single one was a narrative. I tell things in story, I relate and put personal details into everying. Lots of “I” statements, and lots of “you” statements. I do try to keep away from the third person bland past tense issues, I had a big problem with that as Istarted out. I can still see Mr. Bacon’s frown over his reading glasses from sixth grade when I pretensiously handed him my Magnum Opus “The Dawn Rider” a 42 page hand written dramatic western novella (I had big dreams back then). The entire thing was a series of passive voice errors, and “…” he said, “…” she said, eye-bleeding dialogue tags. But it was narrative story. Everything I write, education or otherwise has hints of story, and at the same time, I’m trying to educate, build and inform through word structure.
So, what kind of Writer are you?
These are just three examples of -either or- classifications that just done’t work, for writers or any other field. As long as things are seen in black or white, this or that, it’s not going to work.
I can’t define you.
Keving can’t tell you what your style is.
That fancy overpaid university professor doesn’t get to tell you ‘this is the only correct style to use!’.
You need to understand what -your- style is, and work to perfect that style. I can’t write like Blake Powell, Erika Sauter, E. Scott Alighieri, or any of the amazing writers I follow here or elsewhere. I wish I could write like Terry Brooks, Steven King or Brandon Sanderson, but I’m not them, my grey matter is mine alone, and it fires weird.
As my eleven year old son so often quips when I ask him to stop being weird, “I can’t, I’m your son.”
We are all individuals, just like everyone else. Embrace your own brand of weird, your own writer’s style if you will, and from that, you can figure out what kind of WRITER you are.
If you write, you’re a writer. No matter the volume, audience, or eventual disposition of that writing, you are still a writer.
Maybe you’re a composed coffee shop writer;
Maybe you’re a chaotic carnival midway writer;
Maybe you can only write when half drunk in a tent while the storm rages,
But you are a writer, if you write, keep writing. Make that decision, just keep writing, for you. For your audience and your fans (yes they’re out there!).
The next step is to figure out what you actually hope to get from your writing, fame, fortune, or even just final closure (My father wrote reams and reams of stuff in recovery, for closure).
Until then, think of what you are doing, how it’s happening, and try to gain a deeper understanding for yourself, for therein lies the true path to growth and a sense of enduring and abiding fulfilment.
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If you are so inclined, I’d appreciate it if you’d click through to Danielocasey.com and there’s a sign-up form there for you to use. I”ll link to this post from there so you can get back here if you need. I’m nice like that.
Cheers and Keep Being Awesome.