Recently, a friend of mine posted this question on her Facebook page.
What makes you a writer?
Now, THAT’S a question!
She wrote a very thoughtful post about what she thought made a writer and how she felt she kinda was but didn’t think she should call herself one.
I know a couple of writers who believe in the philosophy of “I write, therefore I am”. I’m not sure that’s completely accurate but I appreciate the sentiment of inclusion.
I don’t completely agree with this thought because it mean that if you write a grocery list you should consider yourself a writer like Maya Angelou or Toni Morrison. Not true. Unless, of course, your grocery list is written in rhythm and it’s a Phenomenal List, phenomenally.
Do you make art? Do you write something that comes from you? Do you create? You don’t have to like it or love it. You don’t have to publish it. But did you create something out of nothing? And did you like doing it, at least a little bit?
Then you are a writer. Yup. Congrats.
Writers, however, are not the folks who use words as weapons to tear down innocents. I believe in the power of words, how they can change and heal and harm. Those who use words to lie or harm in a vicious way are not writers, they are bullies. They are cowards.
Also, writing is a verb. Writers write. Period. If you don’t write at all, you are not a writer. It doesn’t matter how many books you read about how to do stuff. The only way to do it is to do it.
Writing is a process and so is the life that comes with it. It has lows and highs like everything else but it’s also a freedom that few people experience.
So, are you a writer? Stop asking and start doing. Writers don’t have time to ask, they’re too busy creating.
Icess Fernandez Rojas is a writer, blogger, teacher, and journalist. Her commentary has appeared in The Guardian and on Huffington Post Latino Voices. Her fiction has been published in literary journals/anthologies such as Minvera Rising and Soul’s Road. Her first book, the beginning of the Jennie Manning series, will come out next year. In addition to writing, Icess teaches fiction writing classes. Want more on what it takes to be a writer? Sign up or contact her and ask a question.