Should we always write to feel like a writer? Or receive an MFA to consider ourselves writers? Are we still writers when we don’t meet a word count, or write anything at all? What happens when life gets in the way, and our writing careers lose its momentum? Can we still call ourselves writers?
“I am always a writer,” says S. Evan Stubblefield, an Elizabeth George grant recipient. She learned from an early mentor that EVERY single thing you do as an artist is for your craft/work – even when it doesn’t feel like it. When you are driving your car and trying to imagine what it is your character wants, or when you are working out so that you can have the stamina to write your story – you are still being a writer.
For Elizabeth Peterson, a novelist, editor, and professor, this realization did not come easily. Having struggled with a medical condition, she felt like a fraud when she couldn’t write anything for years.
“It took me a long time to accept that everything that is going on in my life is part of my current process,” admits Peterson. Whether she was chaining herself to her computer with a word goal or whether she was taking care of herself or talking to her dog, she realizes that it was still part of the process of working on her craft. “And oh, my dog is a great listener. She loves all my characters,” she adds.
When Jason Brandt Schaefer, novelist, artist, and songwriter living in Boulder, took a 16-hour long drive to visit his family in Texas, he found himself staring down the highway, and talking to himself instinctually. He was preparing his responses to certain situations and people he often disagreed with; almost like writing an essay in his mind.
Schaefer believes it’s instinctual for creative people to engage with this instinct of wanting to create meaning from our lives.
Can you relate to it? What are the non-writing things that made you feel like a writer? Share with us on the comments below!
Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.