Are you a writer?

Hello readers, this is a continuation of my semi-regular ghost in the post series. Today I have the privilege of introducing Michael Schechter.   I met Michael through Gini (imagine that) when he guest posted Five Reason I Lost Readers in 2010. Of course, I had an extremely witty reply and we’ve been bumping into each other ever since. You can find Michael any day at MichaelSchechter.me; please take the time to pay a visit, I know you will enjoy his work.

It feels foolish to call yourself a writer, doesn’t it? Or is that just me? Yet when you find yourself writing with some level of frequency, you eventually wonder if that is what you’ve managed to become.

One man’s opinion, but there is a clear difference between someone who writes and a writer. That difference: hitting publish with consistency. There are some who will disagree, who will say that the actual writing itself is enough. It isn’t. If you aren’t sharing your words with the world, why bother to say that you’re writing them?

The act of writing alone is no small feat. It is damn hard to unravel your thoughts on paper (or screen) and it takes tremendous discipline to examine your own work with a critical eye (still working on that part). Yet it pales in comparison to putting your work out there, to consistently sharing your words with the world.

Don’t worry, consistent doesn’t mean every day, it doesn’t even mean every year. Larger works take time to write, time to edit and perhaps a lifetime to get published. It just means that with some frequency, your writing has the potential to get read.

One of the biggest fears of publishing is the reaction. Sure you might enjoy your words, but what are others going to think? Rest assured some of your work is going to suck. It takes time to get good; it takes time to find your voice. If you can accept that and keep publishing despite your misses, you might be a writer. If these failures inevitably cause you to stop, you simply wrote.

It also takes commitment. Sadly, the words are not going to appear (trust me, I’ve tried). You have to carve out time to write, edit, format and publish. You can’t count on inspiration. More often than not, you’re just going to have to keep struggling through, moving your hands over keys until words appear on the screen. You’re going to have to fight some serious resistance. But that is what it is going to take if, for some reason that likely requires psychological evaluation, you hope to consider yourself a writer.

I’ve always loved writing, but have never been willing to consider myself a writer. I just never gave the work the kind of commitment that the title deserved. Lately, I’ve been stepping up my game and publishing with frequency. It’s gotten to the point where, even if it is just for now, I’m a writer.

How about you? You a writer or do you simply write? Don’t think there is a difference? Then let the debate begin!

Michael Schechter is the Digital Marketing Director for Honora Pearls, a company specializing in freshwater pearl jewelry. He rambles on about how and why we make things on the web over at his blog, and you can connect with him on Twitter at @MSchechter.
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110 thoughts on “Are you a writer?

  1. Great post Michael!

    My brother is a writer…you know, the author-type writer, whose recent non-fiction book was published by Random House and was one of the top ten non-fiction books in Canada last year. I watched him devote 2 years of his life to writing every single solitary day, sending his work to his editor, getting it back for re-writes, rinse and repeat.

    I thought that’s what a writer was. Someone squirreled away, doing the “serious” work, JK Rowling’ish.

    But since I’ve starting blogging, I know this: I am a writer. I actually started blogging because I wanted to banish the nasty self-editor in me. You know the one…the voice that says things like, “is that politically correct”, “will someone take offense at that”, “is that grammatically correct”, “did I make myself clear” ad infinitum.

    Mission accomplished. I now write with relative ease, and find that when inspiration hits, the words just flow. I don’t schedule my posts, but like you, I am writing more consistently. But for me, nothing beats the moments when inspiration hits…you read something somewhere that propels you to write your own post/perspective on it…or, like a lightning bolt, the muse arrives and the writing almost writes itself.

    They say that almost everyone has a book in them, and I think that’s true. The only thing separating the writer of the book (or the blog or the poetry or the essay) is that one person talks about it while the other person does it. I.LOVE.TO.WRITE. Cheers! Kaarina

    • I too find myself thinking more about writing and playing stories out in my mind. Unfortunately, some of my best inspiration is when I have my iPod plugged in my ears and I’m cutting my grass. Sometimes when I’m all finished being Mr Yard Monkey some of that thought process has slipped away. I will jot down a title I’m thinking for the post and hope it allows me to recall everything, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

      Writing is fun and the fact someone actually takes the time to read it is even better. With blogging you also get comments so it gives you a better idea of how your writings resonate with readers (if they take the time to comment).

      All I will say is ‘write on’ and let’s keep having fun……

      • Bill, I’m the same as you, the inspiration tends to hit at strange moments. My “secret” is to try to jot down the first two sentences or so. Gives me more than just the idea, it allows me to pick the idea back up in mid-stride.

    • Don’t get me wrong (and I actually think that you agree) there are degrees of writer. I just think it is limiting to say it is only those who make a living as a writer who are one. Then again, that’s probably why we have the term professional writer 🙂

      I hear you on the internal critic, but I’ve learned to listen sometimes and ignore others. It never really goes away, but that voice certainly becomes easier the more you hit publish.

      I definitely schedule (the byproduct of two kids and a desire to publish five days a week), but find myself writing more and more. I love the momentum (this piece was actually written one sitting on my iPhone on the subway), but I make sure to capture ideas along the way for when inspiration doesn’t choose to strike. I enjoy the muse, but I don’t count on her. Thanks for the thoughts!

  2. Hey Michael, looks like Kaarina beat me to the punch and got her comments in first.

    When I got plugged in with social it was all about the commenting. That I could do real well and didn’t have to give it much thought………..of course, us smart assess are good at that, right?

    However, since it’s blogs I’m commenting on I guess I better get one too. That put a whole new spin on it and I had to ‘think’ about what I was going to write. I think I can write ‘ok’ and I like to write so I’m excited about seeing how much I can grow with it.

    So from now on, you can call me Bill Dorman, writer……………:).

    I appreciate your willingness to GP for me today my friend. You always do a good job.

  3. Yay! I was able to read your post about writing and writers. Nicely done.

    I’m not going to be the one to debate with you because I believe there are differences between a person who writes and a person who’s a writer. I think one of the main ones is mindset, and that affects everything else. It affects how a person perceives the world, and it affects how he or she interacts with it.

    I think you’ll enjoy this article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/the-difference-between-a-writer-and-someone-who-writes/. I’ve been trying to find it for the past few days and finally did. The timing worked out perfectly; I wanted to wait to share it with you until you published your post. 🙂

    • Oh, come on… let the debate begin! I tend to agree with you, but would argue that it’s tough to publish over a long period of time without having it affect everything else. I know what you mean, when you have a blog, everything looks like a post. It’s like your own personal pair of rose colored sunglasses (hopefully without the naïveté)

      Excited to read the article and damn you again for overloading me with great stuff! And seriously, I loved your post. Thanks for inspiring this one 🙂

      • Haha! For me, the mindset has more to do with how I view the world. I’m a firm believer in the “show; don’t tell” philosophy. My blog posts don’t always enforce that philosophy because I can’t share “everything,” especially when the source of frustration has to do with a business relationship. My poetry, though? My poetry is in the imagistic vein.

        How am I supposed to debate with you? If I say writers and people who write are the same, I’m doing a discredit to myself. I’d have to include myself with the people who have deluded themselves into thinking they’re writers and that they’re good writers to boot.

        The publishing thing is a challenge, especially when working on something quite a bit lengthier than a blog post. I spent two semesters working on my thesis. Fortunately, I had my advisor to help me. It’s much more difficult when going solo with the process. I truly don’t know that much about the publishing process, so you may need to elaborate on your thought.

      • I get what you mean, but I’ve found curation to be as essential to the process as the writing itself. The better stuff I take in, the more I’m able to crap rationalize that it is impacting my own writing!

        I don’t think you have to share everything. There are plenty of things that I’ve written just for me that will never see the light of day. Some that I wouldn’t even let myself keep.

        Oh, when I said over a long period of time, I mean that you’re constantly publishing, not publishing one thing over an extended period. My bad…

        And for the record, I never said anything about my being a good writer.

      • Hey Michael, didn’t know if you were still around but we had a couple of late arrivals who are looking for the beer. I hope you still have some in that cooler you brought.

    • And to take it a step further, just like social which can be fickle, what if the average writer is the one getting published and paid whereas the more talented writer, for whatever reason toils in obscurity. The talented writer might look down his nose at Mr Average but the reality is someone got the right break and the other didn’t. Both writers, but at different levels of the spectrum.

  4. Hey Michael,

    Now that’s a darn good question.

    I don’t consider myself a writer. I’ve been blogging religiously now for two years and in the beginning posted three times a week. Earlier this year I cut that back to twice a week but I am still consistent.

    Now I’m from the old school mind you but I always thought a writer was someone who has published a book, writes for a magazine or gets paid to write for others. I still think that way even though because of my writing I am attracting more people and some of them are buying things through me.

    I use to be an executive assistant and everyone use to tell me I was so good with words. I also use to write little silly poems so my girlfriends would always come to me and ask me to write something for them to give to someone else. I was always flattered that they thought so highly of what I wrote but I STILL don’t consider myself a writer. I guess people look at it in different ways.

    Enjoyed this post and it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve seen you around as well but have never visited your blog. I’ll have to stop by and say hi!

    Enjoy your day!

    ~Adrienne

    • Perhaps it’s a confidence or a perception issue? I shy away from the “writer” term, too, even though I am one. My poetry professor/mentor often took me to task for not being confident in my abilities as a writer. 🙂

    • I agree that there is a difference but I’d argue that you and the person publishing a book are both writers (just different kinds). I also think there is a difference between a writer and a professional writer. Quite a bit of my actual job is writing, but I wouldn’t say I’m a pro writer by any stretch. We need to get one of them in this conversation so they can tell me why I am dead wrong and so not a writer 🙂

      Happy to have crossed paths and hope I don’t disappoint too much on my own site.

      • Argh. All these titles. I guess I consider myself a writer before being a professional writer, but it’s a difference in degree. When I “write,” I primarily write for myself, without inhibition (until it’s time to edit and to see if what I wrote plain sucks or is on the verge of going someplace good). When I write professionally, I have to pay more attention to audience. I also have to be the editor, too, but that’s because I’m an independent person and don’t have an editorial team. 🙂 When I hear “professional writer,” I think of copywriters or anybody who’s paid to write content for another person. That doesn’t necessarily make those people “writers.” I see plenty of bad copy from quote-on-quote professional writers.

      • Bill, I’ll go one step farther and give you credit even if no one reads it. Just putting it out there where that is a possibility that someone could read it and hate it deserves its due credit. Will be interesting to see where Jack B. lies.

        Erin, I tend to agree, there are all different types of degrees, pro, author, novelist, playwright, songwriter, blogger, columnist, but the over aching “cup” for me is writer. And when I said professional writer, I meant someone who counts on it for their lively hood regardless if they write for themselves or others… Not looking to insult any of the good guys 🙂

      • I wasn’t trying to insult anyone, either. I hope I didn’t with my remark. 😐

        Yes, “writer” is the overarching term. The rest – to me, at least – is a tangled mess of semantics and perceptions.

    • Yes, you do write well but if we are attaching labels to ourselves is there a difference between a blogger and a writer? Especially if you consider a writer someone who is published and possibly paid. Both write, but there is a different metric they are being judged by, right?

      Good to see you Adrienne, Michael does have some good stuff at this place; well worth the visit.

      • As I said to Erin, writer is the overarching label (hate those, but they sure are efficient) and then you get into the semantics of what kind. For me, I consider a writer to be someone who 1) writes and 2) publishes with some level of consistency (read: at least more than once). Doesn’t have to be for money. Not suggesting anyone should agree with that definition, just wanted to clarify what I meant…

  5. I write out of necessity. To me it’s like any art form. When I danced it was storytelling with movement and music. When I draw and paint it’s with line, color and sometimes texture. When I speak it’s with tone and body language. My goal is always to get someone inside my head with me, to see my point of view, and to feel what I feel.
    I get a really uncomfortable feeling with the label “writer”. It has a sense of commitment to it.
    I agree that you have to start writing until the words come.Thinking doesn’t help. Words really do take you down an unexplored path to new worlds! I love it when that happens. It happens in artwork and dance, too.

    • If you let it, writing allows you to express yourself much more deeper than you can in words. The writing allows you to think and be contemplative whereas some of that might not come out in casual conversation.

      We are not writing a book but by blogging we are putting snippets of our lives out there and our experiences and sharing it with others.

      Sometimes labels are constrictive but I would be more apt to tell someone on the outside I’m a blogger instead of a writer. To me, writer denotes more of a commitment than I am making to the task…………just my thoughts…………

      Good to see you and thanks for stopping by to say hi to Michael today.

      • I tend to feel this way about any work that can really be edited and refined.

        The one argument I would make, is don’t underestimate how those little snippets can weave themselves into a tapestry over time.

        That said, I still think you make a hell of a commitment to your words and your site!

    • I just like to tell people I’m a poet for grins and giggles. You never know how people will react to that one. Okay, maybe I don’t actually throw the “poet” title out there, but I think about doing it.

      I agree that you have to write. I try not to over-think things when I write, especially when I’m writing poetry. That sort of writing needs to flow. It doesn’t work well when it comes in jerky spurts.

      • I hope Bill doesn’t mind (and feel free to kill the comment if you do good sir), but screw them for laughing. Half the time it’s their own insecurity at not being able to make something. I tend to over analyze everything, but I think that’s just part of being a NY jew 🙂

        This is Bill’s edit (because my site is cheap like that): You said screw and NY Jew in the same comment; do I have to check my comment policy? Oh wait, I don’t have one. FYI – from a long line of Southern Baptists, my niece is a Jew and it was absolutely the best wedding I have ever attended. We were drinking wine during the service…..:)

      • Well, I’m a poet and don’t know it…………………:)

        I read some poetry and would probably enjoy reading more. I’m guessing it’s somewhat like classical music and has it’s own ‘niche’ if you will……….

  6. I write out of necessity. To me it’s like any art form. When I danced it was storytelling with movement and music. When I draw and paint it’s with line, color and sometimes texture. When I speak it’s with tone and body language. My goal is always to get someone inside my head with me, to see my point of view, and to feel what I feel.
    I get a really uncomfortable feeling with the label “writer”. It has a sense of commitment to it.
    I agree that you have to start writing until the words come.Thinking doesn’t help. Words really do take you down an unexplored path to new worlds! I love it when that happens. It happens in artwork and dance, too.

  7. Using the terminology “writer” to describe myself is something I’ve long struggled with. Yes, I have a BA in professional writing, and I’ve published quite a bit under my byline, but I do feel like there’s a certain stigma attached to invoking the phrase “I am a writer.” After all, lots of people, many very different from me, seem to be able to label themselves writers without really adhering to any kind of publishing regiment. In that sense, I sometimes hesitate to introduce myself to new acquaintances as a “writer,” for fear of being casually dismissed as a wannabe artist without any real body of work to show for myself.

    On the other side of the coin, can somebody who has hit the publish button multiple times continue to call themselves a “writer” if they haven’t pressed said button in some time? Are doctors still allowed to call themselves doctors if they haven’t practiced medicine in a few months? Writing as a career can be such a fluid thing for many – this is a good debate to be having.

    • Come on then, if a hack such as myself is trying it on, I think you’re more than deserving!

      I’d rather strive to be a wanna be anything than nothing. Writing as a career can be fluid, but the actual writing… I’m not so sure.

      • At what point do you think ‘I can do this’ and you are willing to devote everything to being the next big thing in the literary world? You hear music you really like and think ‘I wish I could produce that’ and read something and think ‘I could write that’, but at what point are you ready to really ‘commit’ to it?

      • I think if you commit to anything with the expectation of “being the next great thing” it’s likely doomed already. I just look for the things that interest and/or scare the crap out of me and try to commit to those.

        That said, as someone with a lot of interests, I tend to find it better to go the opposite route. Look at the things I’m doing and eliminate the ones that just don’t connect. Once they are gone, it gets to be a lot easier to look at the board and see what really matters. If I’m really committed to something, chance are I never had to consciously decide to commit to it. It just happened.

      • Your process of elimination is a great way to narrow it down as long as the ‘too many’ interests don’t become distracting. I’m the type of person if I’m going to be ‘all in’, then I’m all in. I will give it my utmost attention wherever it might lead. Sometimes to the point of being singularly focused on it, which can be good and bad…..

    • Nope, you win; anybody who has a BA in professional writing trumps all……..

      I wonder if it’s like telling someone you are a comedian. As soon as you say that then it’s like ‘well ok, be funny’. With the writer, especially the professional writer the first question is ‘well, what have you written’.

      It does come down to labels and mindset; I’m comfortable telling people I blog (write) on a consistent basis. I even have some of my offline friends who have stopped by. It’s funny though, because unless you are totally ‘in’ to social to this degree, most don’t get it.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and I know Mike appreciates it as well. I hope your journey has been a good one.

      BTW – I want my doctor to quit practicing and start to master this dang thing…..just sayin’……

      • The comedian point is spot-on. It happens to writers, too. Tell someone you’re a writer, and that person automatically tries to get you to write something on the spot. I have nothing against forced creativity, but it’s hard to work that way, especially when the person who made the statement is looking over your shoulder while eating potato chips…

  8. My two favorite smart asses in one place. How cool! I won’t try to write a creative, smart ass comment, because frankly, I can’t keep up with you two.

    I started this whole thing because I wanted to get better at writing speeches, really. And, blogging was safe, because not a soul would pay attention, and my writing and elocution would improve. Maybe not dramatically, but it would improve. A blog would be my accountability platform. Be careful what you wish for right? Now I’m committed to this blogging thing. It’s a ton of work, but it sure is fun.

    Like Adrienne, I think of a writer as novelist, newspaper columnist, or someone who gets paid to write. A lot. I don’t consider myself a writer, I’m doing this to get better, but it is pretty damn fun and exciting. In my past I was known to write really bad poetry for my wife, then girlfriend. I might say I’m a writer in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but am too self conscious to spit out that title any time soon. With that being said, I love the process of writing. Love. It.

    Michael, you, Sir are a very good writer, and it’s great to see you here, where the best host in town resides. Well, maybe second to Gini 🙂

    • You sell your “smart-assedness” short.

      I’m with you my friend, I attempt to put myself in a state of constantly sucking less… my best way to suck less it by doing the things I think I suck at until I get ever so slightly better. The real beauty of that commitment is that it is only really unto yourself. If you or I stopped writing tomorrow, we’d probably be the only person who noticed (not trying to be an ass (that come naturally), just being honest)). The world isn’t waiting for any of our words, but hopefully a few people within it welcome them anyhow. It’s a lot of work, but so far, the self growth and the connections made have more than paid for the effort.

      As for the title, clearly calling yourself a writer comes with some sense of the lofty (and lofty I am indeed), but it only deepens the commitment (or at least mine) to the work. Because I’ve decided to take it more seriously, I actually end up taking it more seriously (go figure). All of this is probably a giant semantic argument (who is and who isn’t a writer), but semantic arguments are my most favorite of all. For some reason that I’ll never quite understand, I tend to learn more in the nuance of some small argument than I do in major revelations (go figure again).

      Hmm, a Bill vs. Gini hospitality cage match… now that I’d watch! S

      • Are you calling me a smart ass? 🙂 I’m honored. Maybe I should say thanks, I’m working on it. Baby steps. I do have you and Bill to look up to in that department 🙂

        I hear ya. Constantly sucking less is a good way to look at it. I can certainly get into sucking less. I like that. Yes, it’s such a personal thing, writing. We do it for ourselves really, don’t we? Even if you are offering some form of help, or selling something on a blog, you’re injecting your uniqueness, your personality into the story. Those are the blogs I keep going back to anyway. The world sure as hell isn’t waiting for any of my words, but maybe some will notice. You’ve been at this longer than me, so would know best. I’m only a month into the game. Publishing that first post meant commitment to me. Because once I start something, I’m gonna do my best to get it right, now when come the rewards? 🙂

        Yeah, isn’t it great. The self-improvement and connections. Well worth the effort, Sir!

        Well, if you are looking for semantic arguments, the blogosphere is the right place to be 🙂 but anyway, you’re right, we could get into a semantic dispute about the subtle variations in who is and who isn’t a writer.

        Hospitality cage match? Hmmmm. Sounds like a post to me.

      • As you well should be Craig… I think I speak for Bill when I say that you’re doing just fine.

        I’m not trying to be an ass when I say this (I do that in other ways), but I write for me and hope that it helps you too. That’s why I’d rather the right one person reading my stuff than the wrong thousand. In my experience, we’re all unique, but we’re not all that special. The crap that I wrestle with, others do too. I figure if I share what’s working some of it may work for them. And even if I am just writing for me and that one other poor unfortunate schmuck who is just like me (only different), well thankfully that’s been enough to keep me hitting the keys and making the clackety noise (hat tip to Merlin Mann).

        I look forward to your hospitality cage match guest post over at Spin Sucks!

      • Mr. Schechter

        You Sir, certainly know how to light a place up! 94 comments already. I think they “tweaked” the count over at Gini’s place 🙂 but that was something, wasn’t it? You still buzzing from that?

        If you don’t write for yourself, I don’t think you’ll have the passion to keep producing great stuff. My humble opinion. If it helps someone, all the better. If there is a sorry schmuck out there and my writing helps or resonates with him / her, that’s cool.

        “Hospitality cage match” I like it. I think you have a post topic. This will soon be heard throughout the land.

        Great job over here. You da man!

    • Whoa, hold on big fella; you were supposed to say I’m a good writer too….it is my site after all, and I don’t really care if you are lying or not………..

      And smart ass? I’ve heard you talk and read your blog; keep practicing you need all the freakin’ help you can get B’more…….

      I say this with all sincerity, you scrapped around like I did bitching and moaning about whether to blog or not, but you are there. You are light years beyond me in writing ability. I can network, you can write and if I were to give you any advice it would be to just keep doing what you are doing.

      The other thing I will say is you have given me a spark to get involved with Toastmasters because I do my share of public speaking, but like writing, we can always get better, right?

      I loved your post about your 102 yr old mentor; I want to be that guy. BTW – my grandmother lived to 102 and she was born in 1898 and made it to 2001 so I thought that was pretty cool. As Davina would say FWIW.

      • Dude! You made fun of my beard the other day. Now you have my wife piling on! She’s a fan of JackB and …. You!! I wasn’t sure if you were really makin’ fun or just jealous ’cause you couldn’t grow one 🙂 Okay … you’re a good writer too. I mean come on, Bill. You know it, and as you say, on top of that you can network with the best of them.

        All the freakin’ help I can get? Take it easy, man. I think the heat’s gettin’ to you down there. I was going to write a post about some of my favorite bloggers and include you, but with that comment, I’m rethinking this entire thing.

        … Okay, now you get me with the “with all sincerity” part. Light years might be pushing it, but I’ll take what I can get. Honestly, I do really appreciate that coming from you.

        Toastmasters is great really. Been a member for years and it cured a lot of my fears, mostly centering around dealing with people and crowds. See my “introvert” post. Now you can’t shut me up 🙂 Let me know how it goes with Toastmasters. Very curious to hear.

        Re: my Dick Hendricks post: I loved your comment / story about the dry cleaners and boxers much better. That was worth the price of admission.

        That is very cool. 1898-2001! Shazam!

        Seriously Bill, you rock! (I’m not too old to say that)

  9. I write because it is my one real passion in this world. I get paid to blog and I think to myself ‘this doesn’t suck.” But of course I am always hesitant to blog about social media in front of my friends, lest you all think I am an idiot or something.

    What I am doing is working on a longer work. I have written several short stories and hope to get those published as well. I do say “i am a freelance writer” if someone asks me what I do for a living. Now I can add “I am a professional smartass” and “I am an assistant to an Interior Designer here in lovely downtown NYC”

    Nicely done Michael.

    • I think Michael and I can join you about being professional smart asses, and not to stereotype, but Michael being a NY Jew I’m sure he can take it to a completely different level and leave me in the minor leagues down here in the banjo playing south……:).

      Thank you, thank you for letting the Rays sweep the Yankees the last series of the season; they made them work for it, but it got done.

      I also want to thank you so much for coming by to see Michael at my place; very much appreciated.

      You had some powerful posts this week, good job.

    • Nancy, Hollywood could not have scripted that any better than what happened. The Rays were done as in ‘stick a fork in them’. It was a beautiful think to watch; incredible doesn’t even describe it…………..

    • That doesn’t suck at all! People have offered to pay me not to…

      I don’t think anyone’s thinking you’re an idiot (that’s what we have me for). I envy the longer work. Wonder if I will ever get that aspiration one day… From what I hear, it is no easy feat.

  10. Schechter, get your ass back to shul. It is the damn New Year- time to do tshuvah and ask for forgiveness and all that rot. You New York Jews have nothing on those of us out here in the West.

    We have real bagels, real writers, and real sports teams. Of course we have a moron from Boston who bought my beloved Dodgers but we’ll send him back to you guys. Boston, New York-no difference there. You all have funny accents.

    Anyhoo, I am a writer. Been one my whole life. Got lost for a few years and forgot that words are my trade and what I should be using to make more gelt to line my empty pockets.

    Shana Tovah to you and any other MOTs who are haunting this joint today. Good post, really did enjoy it. Someone tell Al that the SEC still sucks. 😉

  11. Technically, I’m a professional writer. If a client needs content for a website, email, brochure, PPT presentation, or anything else, I write it. But I’ve always thought of myself as a marketer whose primary focus just happens to be creating content. In my work, I’m trying to connect with my client’s customers and spur action, not express my voice. And I love doing just that.
    On my blog, it’s a different story. That’s where my voice and personal writing style are strongest. I suppose I have multiple writing personalities!

    As far as the debate goes, I tend to see the person who writes without the intent to share/publish as a writer. To me, being a writer is about expressing thoughts and ideas using words, and nothing more. One woman’s opinion. 😉

    • I see what you mean, but why call yourself something that you have no intent of sharing. The risk isn’t in the writing. The risk is in letting your words and the world collide. One man’s opinion 🙂

    • One woman’s opinion but you do have that multiple personality thing going on…..

      You make some valid points about what you are trying to accomplish with your writing and what that will look and read like.

      Every time we hit publish, we are putting our work out there. The fact we have committed to doing it regularly makes us something I think. Blogger, writer, something….

      I think we have earned the right to label ourselves as writers if we chose to use a label.

      Thanks for coming by and seeing Michael, it has opened up some pretty good discussions.

  12. Wow! This is an epic comment thread! So great to read. I do think that intent (of exposing the writing to one or more people in the world) has something to do with separating the ‘writer’ writer from someone who just writes a diary.

    But even that gets blurry.

    Was Anne Frank a writer?

  13. Hi Michael and Bill,

    I probably won’t consider myself a writer even if I get my novel published. I’m not sure why not, but being a writer sounds like something I make a living of, something I do as my main job, as a way of supporting my family. I write every single day, sometimes for hours, other times for ten or fifteen minutes. I write when I feel like it, so I guess I’m a writer, because I spend so much time doing it and I really love it. But, if people say I am one, I’ll deny it 🙂

    Great question.

    Jens

    • I would definitely consider you a writer, especially since you are actually working on a novel. That’s like a writer X 7 or something I think………:).

      Actors, artists, writers, musicians, athletes, etc; there is a very, very small percentage that actually make a living in these trades. However, since admission to the club is relatively easy we can pretty much call ourselves whatever we want. It’s probably only in our own mind whether we think it’s a legitimate ‘label’ or not.

      There does seem to be a common thread that we all enjoy, regardless of what level we think we might be. I say let’s just go with the flow and see where it takes us.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and see Michael; we’ve had a pretty good turnout.

  14. You will be a writer if you consider yourself to be one. The only one who really decides is you. My writing in school used to be laughed at and ridiculed. Teachers, classmates and even my parents did not really think much of my writing. So with that belief, I clammed up, never writing anything for a long time. It was not until, I started writing on blogs that I found that I have the passion and talents for this.

    To me as long as your work gets read, you are a writer. It does not matter it is in the papers, blogs, books, minutes, etc. Somebody is reading your content and they will form opinions. Isn’t that the whole idea of being a writer? To share ideas, state your views, get some feedback and generate discussion. To top this all up, if you write to inspire, you enter the stratosphere of writing. Ultimately, what good is your work if you do not bring some good to others.

    • You make some good points and I certainly agree. I think the common thread was yes you are a writer and everything else is splitting hairs as to what type or what level you consider yourself as such.

      Thanks for taking the time to weigh in and say hello to Michael. It would be worth your time to check him out at his place as well.

      I hope your journey has been a good one and you find the writing rewarding.

    • I think you’re missing one important bit there. “You will be a writer if you consider yourself to be one” needs “and you write” added onto it (although you sort of imply that in the second paragraph). I may consider myself to be an acrobat at heart, but unless I get up on the trapeze, it doesn’t really mean much 🙂

      The medium does not matter, simply the act of writing and sharing it somewhere.

      If someone doesn’t think you suck, chances are you didn’t make anything all that interesting…

  15. A little late here, but quite frankly, I haven’t been able to decide which side of the line I came down on until now. I wrote numerous things (including fiction) prior to my foray into blogging, but I have decided I am not a writer (at least for now).

    The label does no pass the cocktail party test for me: would I be comfortable saying “I am a writer” if I met someone at a cocktail party — probably not. Could I say “I am a blogger” — well, that would be pretty easy at this point.

    Fortunately, I don’t feel I need the label to continue to produce. So that helps. But I certainly don’t judge anyone who does adopt the term!

    This was a really good discussion Michael.

    • I only use it if I think it will impress the group I’m with……….:). Since you put it in that context, I would definitely feel more comfortable calling myself a blogger who writes. I think it might sound presumptuous proclaiming if I proclaimed I was a writer and then everybody would want to know where my ‘work’ is……….but it is still just a label, right?

      Thanks for your thoughts and always better late than never. Glad you could take the time to say hello to Michael. I don’t know if I can get him back over her though, he thought he was all done cleaning house………….

      Have a good one.

    • That’s actually another topic altogether. Ok, you’re a writer, but who would you actually admit that to 🙂 Chances are, in the same circumstances I wouldn’t say it either. But I think it’s the fact that I feel this way that is more important, not that anyone else does.

      I definitely don’t need the label to produce either, I’d keep hitting the keys even if you made it clear that I wasnt and I agreed with you.

  16. I’m the typology of writer with hundreds of published bylines with his name appearing in numerous regional newspapers and a few nationally-circulated titles. From education to the environment to music to travel, I’ve been there and written there.

    The web is the next frontier.

  17. Michael,

    I was thinking about you and your new baby plus family yesterday as I was trying to work my way through over 1,200 emails! (After getting rid of the spam and trash!) I really love “What other people are saying”.

    One of my favorites (and I have a BUNCH on my inspiration board) that I printed from you was the “Nobody Tells This To People Who Are Beginners…” Do you remember it? I hope so. I will NOT quit. This is so very important. I may be able to inspire or help someone, someday, as I have been, here with you all.

    Thank you both for this! Michael and the sweetie-smart-butt Bill
    ~Amber-Lee, Alaska Chick & @girlygrizzly (!!)

    • Me; a smart ass? I’m just incredibly funny…………..all.the.time……………:). At least to myself………….but then again I live in my own little world anyway…………

      Michael did a great job and we had fun with this, there was certainly very good debate on this topic.

      I’ll have to drag him back over here for this comment; he’s already moved on to bigger and better things. Thanks for stopping by.

    • You are too sweet! Everyone is doing well… little one needs to sleep a bit more and the bigger one needs to stop sneaking into our bed after we are all asleep. Other than that, can’t wish for more! I do not envy the 1200 messages…how many days worth of mail is that?!?

      Trying to remember that post, I tried to find it on my site, but I couldn’t… Wonder if it was the You have to suck first post… That or I’m getting credit for someone else’s work (which I am always more than happy to take!). I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments though. Just the idea that you might help one person while helping yourself is enough to keep me at it.

      I will now and forever only be able to think of bill as sweetie-smart-butt… 🙂

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