This past month I vacationed from the weekly blog post.I opted to sun myself on the shores of NaNoWriMo, an indescribable mythical land with vistas as unique as the holidaymaker roaming its sandy coastlines and crowded coffee huts. Those who are mad enough to visit the legendary place return with a new appreciation for the mundaneness of their daily lives. Every tourist comes away with a different story.
My trip ended a week early. Dazed, blistered fingers, and void of fresh ideas other than the story I lived in during the past month, I stared out the window. My mind wandered, my digits hovered, the novelist in me debated with the blogger in me about the need to write a weekly post. I wanted to linger in the magic of my newest novel but the social media vixen I aspire to be (not) bitched until I opened a blank document.
While the debate raged on, I pondered my understanding of my role as a writer, the job title, and the labels a writer affixes to their forehead during their writing career.
The Poet in the Novelist
The Novelist in the Memoirist
The Memoirist in the Poet
The Novelist in the Poet
The Memoirist in the Novelist
The Poet in the Memoirist
The Blogger in the Novelist
The Biographer in the Novelist
The Screenwriter in the Novelist
The Songwriter in the Poet
The Writer in the Blogger
The Storyteller in the Journalist
The Recipe Developer in the Blogger
The Romance Writer in the Novelist
You see where I’m going with the various job titles a writer will wear over the duration of their life. Where you start is not necessarily where you will end, nor is there a limit to the number of writing personas a writer might adopt over the span of a writer’s career.
An artist realizes from their first breath they’re bent, but the mystery of their calling remains hidden until unveiling itself on the first page of the store-bought journal. The charcoal drawing of a bowl of fruit. The first line of a poem penned on the back of a math assignment. Or perhaps the dreaded back to school essay, What I Did on My Summer Vacation, written in a college-ruled binder, yielded a Memoirist, or in my case, a fiction writer guilty of expanding real-life adventures. Whatever medium you found to express yourself upon way back when you’ll have subconsciously labeled or associated your creative style. It’s human nature to self-identify to and with something. It’s only later, after you’ve found your confidence and discovered your breadth, will you long to shed the strings.
On any day, even today, as you are snarling at your monitor struggling with the words, do you ever stop to question the label you’ve given yourself or do you continue grumbling at the screen until you’ve finished? I suspect a fair number of us pound away on the piece until it’s finished. Later over a glass of wine or a steamy cup of Ginger tea, you’ll debate with yourself about the box you ticked to self-identify.
I’m certain a fair percentage of us writers struggle with the precise bucket we’ve dumped ourselves into, even stammer with the finality of the title we utter when asked about our brand of writing. Most writers straddle several categories. Instead of answering the question with, “I’m a writer”, we guilt ourselves into answering with a precision uncharacteristic of how we see ourselves.
“I’m an author.”
“I only write non-fiction.”
“Humor writer… you know, the hard stuff, funny is a bitch.”
“I’m a ________.”
You’re a writer. Right? Why does it matter the kind?
What do you call yourself?
If you vacationed in NaNoWriMo, welcome back and congrats!