Am I a Writer?

NOTE: This was originally posted a few years back on Xanga – anyone remember Xanga? – but I thought it appropriate to re-post here for whatever it’s worth.  

Writers and published authors will sometimes state that the act of writing itself is their passion, and so they will always write whether they get paid for it (and published) or not. These folks are among the most prolific, and often successful, writers. Others find writing to be therapeutic, or they write with visions of fame and movie options.

I don’t seem to fall into any of these categories. I enjoy writing to a certain extent, the same way I enjoy some other activities, but I have no passion for writing in and of itself. I could easily go a day or a month without writing a single word. I don’t find writing to be especially therapeutic either. Maybe just never thought of it that way.

What I do enjoy is being able to edit and refine my ideas before sharing them with the world. Too often my spoken words come out like a bad first draft, and I wish I’d have said things differently. That problem goes away when writing. I can say what I want in just the right way. It’s almost like cheating.

Yet despite that enjoyment, I often have to force myself to sit down and put words on paper screen. Sometimes I lose interest in my great story idea because I realize that it doesn’t have any ultimate significance – like it’s not enough for me to merely entertain or inform, I want to change someone’s life. Unfortunately, life-changing ideas are hard to come by.

The one exception to my lack of passion is when I am in the midst of a debate, and many of my debates have concerned some point of faith or theology. I once wrote a thirty-page response to a friend on the subject of free will vs. predestination, and I could hardly bring myself to leave the keyboard until it was typed, edited, printed and bound. I was passionate.

Most other times, not so much. I have already concluded that I’m not a natural born writer, or someone who needs to write like eating or breathing… but am I a writer at all? Well, here I am putting words on a screen, explaining my thoughts in written form for others to read. Many people would never conceive of doing such a thing, so yes, in some way that sets me apart from a large segment of the general population, I am a writer. Whether that will lead to anything worthwhile remains to be seen. 🙂


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