Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What makes you a REAL Writer?

Okay, it's offical. I've now lost my blog virginity. So, this being my first time, I hope you are gentle with me.

What to blog? What to blog? That was my biggest challenge. I don't have anything interesting to say, or anything valuable to contribute. If you're going to blog, it should be about something profound and wise. Shouldn't it?

I guess I could start with who am I? I'm an average, middle-aged, married woman with two kids about to fly the nest and a nice part-time job, (which is not a career).

I also call myself a writer; but I'm always asking myself, do I have that right? I'm not published, as some of my fellow Romantix members are. In fact, I've never completed a manuscript. A couple of short stories, but never a full, real life, here-see-what-you-think book. Isn't that what it takes to be a writer? Isn't that what you have to do to call yourself a writer? I'm planning to attend the RWA Conference in August; shouldn't I be a REAL writer first? Will they see me as a fraud because I haven't finished anything? (No, I'm not really neurotic.)

All my life I've felt like an observer, never really being apart of the action, just sitting back and watching it. I'd find myself rewriting what I'd observed in my head, creating versions of "what could have happened", using the people as characters and putting them in different situation and even alien worlds, just to see how they would react. The movies in my head were so real, I'd get so caught up I'd become oblivious to the real world around me. I guess that's why mum called me a Daydreamer. (Don't tell, but maybe I still do this a bit.)

A few years ago, I started to write about these marvellous worlds and the characters that lived in my head, trying to recreate them; put them into words. What happened? The characters and places that I found myself escaping to suddenly became flat, grey and lifeless. This isn't it; I can't see them anymore! So, I'd dam the writing as not good enough and start again.

What to do? How to improve? How to revive them and give them back their colour and depth?
Answer: I joined a writer's group.

I love being a part of our group; surrounded by like minded people with so much talent, but who have have enough difference to challenge and inspire me. I'm still learning so much. I'm learning to switch off my critical editor and just let the creativity flow, (that means writing a lot of cr*p, which apparently is okay). I'm learning to try to listen to my heart instead of my head just so I can finish the first dam draft.

I could probably ramble on and on about how self editing before you've even written it down, perfectionist expectations and doubt can totally kill your first draft. But instead, in summary, the best advice I've discovered for myself was something I read on an e-group I used to subscribe to. I've even printed it out and stuck it to my computer screen to keep reminding myself.

I leave you with this quote from the movie Finding Forrester.

"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head."


  1. Yay! Well done Letitia! You're no longer a virgin!!! (of the blogging kind. I suspect you haven't been the other kind for quite a while). ;-)

  2. Well done Letitia. You did it even before our lesson! And yes, you are a writer. I've seen you write plenty - and don't let anyone say any different as you forge ahead and finish the damn book!

  3. Congratulations on successfully losing your virginity Letitia. A wonderful post.

    Always remember that everyone struggles with writing, I think the struggle itself is what makes you 'officially' a writer. It's the journey that's important, not so much the result.