Writer’s don’t have to write

Most of my time writing is spent looking at a blank screen. Not typing. Not forming sentences. Just staring. That is if I can find a moment from checking twitter, facebook or watching Breaking Bad.

I was going to write “most of my time as a writer…” in that first sentence but I couldn’t bring myself to it. If I am a writer I’m a pretty bad one. I don’t actually write. That’s what writer’s do isn’t it? I don’t call myself a plumber because I don’t fix sinks or work with pipes. I don’t call myself a professional footballer because I don’t pray professional football (even though I still think I can). Then I shouldn’t call myself a writer if I don’t think of words and document them somehow…right?


Writing is unique in that some days we can write a bunch of stuff that flows well and we work. We have so many ideas we don’t know what to do with. We work hard and it feels great. Other days not so much. Other days the words are scarce and even if I do manage to write something it is basically crap. It’s full of clichés and its boring and its dull. But at least I have written. The days when I don’t write feel like I am wasting time and am living as a fraud.

But here’s the point. Being a writer is more than writing. Yes at some point I am going to need to write, yes I can be a writer but never put in the effort and leave a gaping hole where my work should be, but if I start defining myself by what I do or don’t do I will never get anywhere. If I don’t write and then decide that that means I am not a writer I will wake up tomorrow and not write. If on the other hand I don’t write but sit down and try then at least I gave it a shot. I will wake up the next day ready to give it another go. In my head I have called myself a writer and that is what I am.

But the magical thing, and it is magical, is that when we sit down to write eventually it will happen. We will think of something or inspiration will hit us and we will write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not.

You’re a writer.

Maybe not a very good writer, but still a writer.

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