I wrote for him a post in which I talk about the good and bad things that I do as a writer. You can read it in his blog, mentioned above. In exchange, he sent me a wonderful post about a very important question, a question that not many people know how to answer, or a question that not many people has even considered. Thank you, Scott, for becoming part of my blog experience. Without more preambles, enjoy this excellent post by great author Scott Bury.
------------------------------o----------------------------------- What is a writer?
I began enjoying Cinta García’s blog about a month ago, after I was alerted to it by her Twitter feed and some praise from other writers. Eventually, I invited her to swap guest blog posts with me. I asked her “what are the best thing and the worst thing you’ve done as a writer?” And in response to her question, I’m describing what I think it means to be a writer.
It’s simple. A writer is someone who writes. Cinta, I think, realized that as she was writing her guest post for my blog. She says she never thought of herself as a writer, even though she writes a blog and some very funny absurdist stories, suitable for children or other people with a sense of humour. Now, however, she understands: if you want to call yourself a writer, you have to write.
She’s not the only one to say so: Chuck Wendig of the Terrible Minds blog quite brutally states there’s no such thing as an “aspiring writer.” Writers write. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer.
To me, it doesn’t matter whether someone else publishes your words. It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or journalism or history or self-help. And it doesn’t matter whether you get paid for it or not. If you write down words and somehow, someone else can read them, you are a writer.
There are many writers who are not recognized by the traditional, legacy publishers—not just the “Big 6,” but also hundreds of smaller and mid-sized businesses who are chasing that vanishing profit margin in print books. But I recognize the talent of writers like RS Guthrie, Alan McDermott, Kathy Lynn Hall, Bert Carson, Jo VonBargen, James Wallace Birch, David Mark Brown, Russell Blake, David Mark Brown, Andy Holloman, Will Granger ... and Cinta García. There are far too many to list.
While some betray varying degrees of skill and command of English grammar and rules, they all have the talent to tell stories and keep an audience’s attention. They’ve all imposed the self-discipline to craft a story, essay, report, poem or novel. What’s more, they’ve all taken the brave step of bringing it out to the world, and are willing to take the criticism, invective, lunacy and occasionally praise that will come their way as a result. In fact, they ask for it.
All writers do. It’s just part of the job.
Somehow, I have fallen within the attention circle (if I can coin a term) of this group. I can’t tell you how proud and inspired I feel when I find my name or my blog mentioned by one of these people.
To answer Cinta’s question: why do I write? Like her, I need to.
I have been a professional writer for close to 30 years now. I recently published my first novel, The Bones of the Earth, but it’s far from being the first fiction I ever wrote. And I’ve been blogging at Written Words for years (although I admit that I’ve only gotten around to blogging regularly in the past 10 or 12 months).
Why do I write fiction? Because I want to tell stories that have not been written before. Sure, the themes are universal: boy meets girl, kill the king, fish out of water revenge, you know the rest. But I like to think that my fiction tells these stories in new combinations and new ways that have not been written before.
Do I succeed? I’ve succeeded in putting a novel together. I’ve succeeded in the mechanical part of publishing it in e-book form, and my proof should be arriving from CreateSpace soon.
I’ve also published some shorter material, and succeeded in the mechanics of e-publishing, too.
And I’ve succeeded to the extent that that few people who have read these works so far tell me they like them. I have not heard or read any negative reviews, yet. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.
The thing that makes me most feel successful about my writing happens when a reader shows me that they really get the story, so when a reader mentions my main character’s social awkwardness or the historical aspects of the story, I feel great.
I doubt that I’ll ever get rich from my stories, but the stories, themselves, are the real reason I write.