Do You Want To Be A Writer, Or Do You Want To Write

It happened a few years ago, one of those moments that spirals into the surreal. On the old blog, I posted one of those memes that went around because, hell, why not? I was bored, and people pretty much read anything I put up on that blog. (Compared to this one, where 1/3 of the visits have to do with two posts about boobs. Who says sex doesn’t sell?)

I guy I knew, one who was pretty friendly up to that point, emailed me asking me what I thought was wrong with that post. Cue eyeroll. If you want to scold me like my father, make sure you slept with my mom in a night of passion that resulted in me before you do so. Since this guy and I are the same age, he already failed on that criteria.

But like I said, we were friendly, so I asked him to get to the point.

Long story short, he didn’t like the blog post. Fair enough. Blogs are, to put it bluntly, authorial masturbation. I pontificate and hope you’re entertained. (And when all else fails, I go scam some boob pictures off Google. Why not? I like boobs.) He further went on to complain that real writers don’t really blog, and some other writer (ironically that guy has a Twitter feed, one I follow, actually) told him real writers don’t blog.

He (the anti-blogging guy, not the guy on Twitter) often blogged on this topic.

So let’s look at this in the cold light of day: You complain about blogging. On your blog. My response was less than gracious.

We apologized to each other, and I thought the matter was dropped. Nope. The guy nominated me to be his partner in a literary feud. I had already filled the spot of Mortal Nemesis by outsourcing the position to Delta Airlines. (Southwest has found this arrangement quite profitable.) I couldn’t figure out what the guy’s problem was. Was his ego really that fragile?

Well, yes, but so was mine. But the point of friction is one I’ve seen time and again over the years. He wants to be a writer. I want to write. So while my former friend is worrying about what all the cool kids think (like the guy who tweets who once told him not to blog. Methinks that guy just didn’t want to deal with a blog), my big concern was, “What do I write next? And when do I find time?”

See, there’s only one definition of a writer that counts. Only one. The rest are bullshit. It is this: A writer writes. A writer parks his or her ass in front of the keyboard and writes. A writer rewrites. A writer moves on to the next story when he’s finished. A writer writes.

It has nothing to do with blogging or tweeting or Facebook or any of that faux intellectual BS about “Well, I don’t do the Internet. I have a life.” That’s on the exact same level of “I don’t watch television.” OK, unless I’m inviting you over for a Futurama marathon or asking you to join my LinkedIn network, why do I need to know that you don’t do something? I’m more interested in what you do.

Are you a writer? Then spend a lot less time telling me how to be a writer, and tell me what you’re writing.


One thought on “Do You Want To Be A Writer, Or Do You Want To Write

  1. Well put. I’m a writer. I’ll post or self-publish what I feel like letting other people see. They can like it or not. That suits my personality much better than trying to guess what an agent/editor/audience wants me to write, and whether I’m qualified to write it.

    I wish I’d discovered your blog sooner. I missed the boobs. Damn.

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