Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just a thought (or two)

I was reading an article this morning about what makes -- or doesn't make -- someone a writer. I love these articles for the most part because it's like a moment of "Writers Unite!"

It was well written and the points were spot on to the traditional stereotypes of a writer from a writer's perspective. I laughed and snorted as the weaknesses and strengths were called out.

Yet, by the time I'd finished I felt oddly disturbed. I couldn't pinpoint it other than this general feeling of shame and discouragement. The feeling was so profound, I was almost embarrased someone would find out I'd read it.

The root cause didn't become clear until I read a post on Facebook later in the morning. A long time friend of mine was calling out a journalist who was basically skinny shaming some music artist for needing a size 0000 or something or another. My friend pretty much summed it up as ridiculous that no matter what body size or type you are, there's going to be individuals out there who will try to shame you into feeling bad about who and/or what you are...

And then it hit me.

This article about writers I'd read earlier in the morning was a shaming of sorts. It basically stated that if you didn't fit these "prestigous" characteristics, you weren't a "real" writer (whatever that means).

Since I hadn't made the cut in their eyes, I believe on the characteristic about not liking a certain part of the writing process, I somehow wasn't a real writer.

I call bullshit. (Sorry to my profanity shy friends.)

So what if a writer thinks about writing more than they actually write? Or they truly hate the editing phase but still do it because it's important to the writing process?

How does that make them any less of a writer? Yes, they probably won't ever earn a full living off it, but who cares? Is that all that writing is about? (No, not in my opinion at least.)

If they get the same amount of joy from the idea and their little bit of writing as those who spend every free moment putting finger to key board, or pen to paper, then that is still an added joy and value to their life.

When did we as the writing community become the judge on quality and value in someone else's life?

It was a slap in the face. It felt the same to me as if somehow the weekend painter was suddenly stripped of their artist title just because they weren't painting 40 or 50 hours a week or earning a living off of it.

Can't we just enjoy the community of writers, where no matter your style, dedication or ambition we all enjoy writing on some level or another?

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