Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day, and took a moment to say, "Thank you" to our military. Without their sacrifices we may not enjoy the privilege to write so freely.

During my long holiday weekend someone asked me a two questions I thought worth sharing. 

1."Are you a writer?", and
2. "What makes one a writer?"

Their position was clear. One trained to become a writer, completing an apprenticeship of sorts, and at some point down the road, proved their competency as a writer. I pressed, "How would competency be measured?" They were unable to define how.

"Is it after one publishes his/her first book?" I asked.
"What about articles and stories? How many must be published before one can call themselves a writer?"
"Must one make money or be employed in a regular job writing?"
"What about being the author of blogs? Does that count?"

This isn't a new topic. If you goggle the question, you will discover any number of discussions and opinions on the subject matter. Even the dictionary and wikipedia  list more than one definition, from one who writes a particular text  to how one writes.

Don't get me wrong, I agreed with some of arguments presented in our discussion. For example, I believe writing is a learned skill. Therefore, continued opportunities to improve one's writing through classes, conferences, etc should be utilized by all writer's.

For me personally, I  use a number of avenues to improve my writing. Critique groups where I seek honest and constructive feedback, classes, and subscriptions to writing resources, books and magazines. Everyday I  learn something new. Writer's come in all shapes and sizes, some with the ability to move us from word one, while others must work harder. 

I am not an aspiring writer, although I aspire to be a better writer, and to have my first novel published. I aspire to do many things in this life.

 I am a writer because it is how I see the world. I believe words are powerful. They delight, sadden, provoke, and soothe us. They move the world, and influence people, and when one has the courage to put pen to paper, because they want or must share with others,  I call them by their name, Writer.

Shakespeare reminded us long ago the value of a name.

 "What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet."

My name is Sheila and I am a writer. What is your name?

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