tempting fate; writing about writing
apologies in advance if this breaks the internet
So. What exactly is a writer?
I mean, in its purest and most literal definition, any being capable of putting pen to paper (either literally or metaphorically) could lay claim to the title, no? By this meager interpretation, most everyone I know is a writer. So that’s hardly a useful definition.
Maybe it’s got something to do with being published in some way; having one’s works replicated on some mass scale.
Granted, whereas access to the tools of publication used to be confined to a select few, these days any monkey with a keyboard and internet access can theoretically bash out Shakespearean prose and publish and disseminate their works to the masses. Is being a writer simply having the sticktoitiveness to actually spew one’s words on to some medium that others have ready access to?
Again, this seems like a low bar.
At this point it may seem like I’m being pedantic (not to mention obnxiously meta). Who cares what it means to be a writer, if you want to be a writer be a writer. I think therefore I am and all that.
But it’s a question I find myself wrestling from time to time simply because I’ve never felt comfortable applying the label to myself. Sure, I write. I write for publication. I write for audiences. I write for myself. I write corporate missives and communications strategies for a living. I write parenting articles and long-winded emails to friends for pleasure.
And yet “Joe Boughner, Writer” always feels… wrong. Misleading. Disingenuous. Writers are people with books for sale on shelves. They’re people who sit in cafes and lofts and in beachfront cottages, losing themselves in their work. Probably stroking their chins.
Writers aren’t people who bash out half-collected thoughts and half-baked ideas in the waning minutes between putting the kid to bed and watching Netflix, they’re artisans. Craftsfolk.