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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does writing, make you a Writer??

I was watching Craig Ferguson last night (up late with hubby out of town huntin', paperwork stuff for Mom, preppin' stuff for the school party on Friday -- this week is so overbooked somehow) and he had a novelist on.

Now, I caught the tail end of the visit/interview but the novelist seemed quite educated and yet, very humbled in his publications....  Then Craig brought up the discussion that everyone (including himself, at which he punned a joke) has written a book now-a-days.  And, it's true.

As an example, Craig mentioned Paris Hilton.  And, he's write.  I mean right.  Paris?  No offense, but she is not the book writing type.  I'm not saying she hasn't been educated enough (though, I find her too dull to research or care) but that...  a book?  About, what... um, say her?  Her life?  Her hardships?  I don't know....

But, the thought does get my mind flowing and I picture her walking around a room, her room, dressed as she does and somewhat distracted by her hair, her dog, her...stuff, as she is rambling on stories of her childhood and the life as she has known it (while rolling in millions, and sleeping on a couple of gold bars of cluelessness above the rest of us living in reality) as some shadow writer is frantically capturing every syllable on her laptop -- hoping for this to be his/her big break into the written word of bi-graphing the lives of people -- so long as Hilton doesn't turn out a tantrum along the way.

[I'm not biased against Hilton...I've seen her interview and she seems like a nice Gal.  But, then, I've seen other stuff too and she's just never been one on my list of talents.]

I've been published.  Throughout life, I've been published.  I've been encouraged by teachers that this is a true art for me.  I lost my way in finding a profitable career; not always what you invision yourself doing but what makes you the big bucks.  I've written for various publications on a voluntary basis, as newsletter chairman or committee chair, and to share youth leadership excursions within Statewide districts.  I've even been published for sharing my story of a predawn hunt that granted me the drop-tine I'm so proud of that is now mounted and hangs in the eves of my Living room.

But, just because I'm published -- does that make me a writer?  I think so, if that is what I have decided to be.  To work for, to earn for, and to seek recognition for.  Maybe not a novelist in any way shape or form; but at least some form of a true acclaimed writer.

But, when I know people and have read them from the rough draft that truly have talent, I find I have to agree with Craig Ferguson that it seems everyone is a writer now days -- even if they didn't actually write the book themselves.   And, that's not fair.

Just because you have the money to self-publish does that put you in the same game as those who have worked the years it takes to have their book put out there?  So that people can finally devour the wonderment a writing artist shares?

I do know several people who have written wonderful books and self-published them.  And, a few have been picked up by local book markets.  Just the same, I know some who have written a book and somehow had it published and printed.  In support, I purchased it but when I read it, I found myself wondering again....

Can just anyone be a writer?  I know, we all are writers out here and share so much of ourselves.  But, the published kind that you can pick up and feel and flip through IRL pages...

And, it is this concept that confuses and perplexes me.  I have shadow read two books.  The first wonderful and such a fun read.  The second?   Quite the talent and intrigue...with tempation of sequels to come.  It's a book that I want to follow into a new cover and beyond.

What do you think?  What is your opinion?  How do you feel about the influx of books from everyone to practically cartoon characters these days?  Do you think the celebrity-ism of it over shadows in some ways those aching to be told and read stories by the talent of so many people that might just be standing next to you at the convenience store?

What do you consider talent?  I really want to reflect on this concept.  Share all your thoughts with me here.  And, thank you for your time, opinions and incites.

Happy, it's almost Thursday already!

[Pssst, and regardless of what you think of any of this.  If you like to write?  Write it.] :-)



Lis Garrett said...

Oh, you know I've thought about this very topic time and time again, so I will be happy to share my thoughts with you.

I agree that *everyone* is a writer these days. And even though they are MY two books you're talking about in your post (and I appreciate your confidence in my talent), I would never refer to myself as a writer.

The first book, Precipice, was never meant to go beyond self-publication as an e-book. It was my way of getting back in the creative saddle after having sat idle for too long. With The Seventh Tribe (about to undergo its second revision), I will do all I can to see it though to publication so someone can pick it up *at the bookstore* and flip through actual pages. Yes, Nova! I promise not to self-publish that one (unless I can't find an agent and publisher for it!).

Being published (going through the steps of finding an agent and publisher, and spending a year - or three - on one project) is hard work. If I stopped at having published one e-book, I couldn't, in good conscience, call myself a writer.

For me, I won't call myself a writer until I walk into a bookstore, see my book on the shelf, and have signed a contract for another.

Of course, my answer is limited to writers of books and not those who freelance for *real* publications (as opposed to writer mills like Associated Content or Demand Studios). Even though I've churned out hundreds of articles for various writer mills, a writer that does not make me. I was a co-editor for a certain writer mill once, and the quality of some of those articles was just AWFUL.

And one more thing, it's unfortunate that celebrity status seems to guarantee a book deal these days.

Jay said...

First of all anyone who has to have a ghost writer cannot call himself or herself a writer. That means that Paris Hilton, Lauren Conrad (I'm not sure, but can't imagine she really wrote a bestseller) Sarah Palin, Charles Barkley and all the other "celebrity writers" aren't really writers.

Would you put people like Paris in the same company with Nora Roberts or Cormac McCarthy? Hell to the no!

I don't really know what criteria should be used to determine if someone is a writer or not. If someone gets paid to blog, are they a writer or just a professional blogger? What about newspaper columnists? Writers or just columnists? I have no idea.

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

Great sharing, y'all. You know, what I didn't think about when writing this post was about the term "Author."

Because Magazine writers should get credit and if you are making a fair share of income from writing then I would think the term would apply.

Then, there are those writers who have written all their lives and yet to be discovered.

So, maybe -- at least where books are considered -- author would apply better. Though, we fall back into that trap of if they've 'written' a book then they are a published author... kinda?

Anyhow, I hope the thoughts keep coming on this one.

Jay, I like the term professional blogger. I've made some diddles of $$ here and there and gotten lots of great free stuff to try and review. But, it doesn't make me a professional; I'm still a hobbyist.


Krishna said...

i am not a writer unless you consider legal documents writing. I agree, if you have to dictate your story to someone to actually put it to paper, you are not a writer. I believe a writer is a person that can tell a story through words and trigger the reader's imagination imagination enough to put their own images to the writers words and get the story across. Even newspaper and magazine writers do this, not just novel writers (both fiction and non-fiction).

Cyndi said...

I believe anyone who writes (e-books, books, and yes, even blogs) is a writer.

That does not mean that all of these people are GOOD writers. But if you write, you are a writer. It doesn't matter if you ever make a dime or ever publish anything other than your own blog posts. If it is your passion and you are doing it then yes, you are a writer.

I think good writers (in any form) touch their readers in some way by making them laugh, writing about something they identify with or making them think about something in a different way than they ever would have on their own.

A published could argue that a blog post is published and that the writer is the author of that post. It really only matters how you see yourself.

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

Krishna, Cyndi

Thank you so much for sharing your comments. On topics like this, I really enjoy reading and coagulating various opinions.

It's good for keeping the mind open too. :-)