(to be read in the Jeff Foxworthy- You might be a Redneck if…- style)

You might not be a writer if you have to drink a fifth of Jack to write a sentence.

You might not be a writer if you grab your laptop and a latte at your local Starbucks and then announce to your facebook audience you are a real writer now because you are sitting in a café with your computer.

You might not be a writer if you sit in a park and your only thought is, “I’m so creative.”

You might not be a writer if your idea of a writer’s group is taking your sentences to your friends and they all give you the thumbs up, pat you on the back, and tell you how awesome you are and how you are so creative.

You might not be a writer if you don’t read other books in your chosen genre.

You might not be a writer if you think you don’t need to go to workshops or use anything to help you with your craft.

You might not be a writer if you have to tell everyone again and again you are a writer. Notice I didn’t say they asked for that information, you volunteered it.


Now, this is all in fun. I don’t claim to have the key to “what it means to be a writer.” I think there are no generalities. I do become violently ill when people walk around telling the world they are such a serious and struggling writer and don’t do anything to improve their writing.

Writing is part science and part gift. Just like everything else in life, there has to be a natural ability for the craft and then there should be the scientific study of the craft. There is practice involved.  There is reading other people who write the books, poetry, plays, you wish you wrote. There is studying the craft you want to write and experiencing the others you don’t want to write in.  

Without these things, a person only has a small piece of the puzzle. Think about if your doctor only knew he or she wanted to be a doctor and only knew to clean a wound. He or she would not be a successful doctor and the same is true with writing.

I do get very annoyed with people who think they can throw some words on the paper and BAM! They are an instant writer.

This annoys me because this was me. I thought I was a pretty good storyteller. Then I got an MFA and realized I was a good storyteller, but I was using the wrong genre.

There is no shame in taking a course or a workshop. It doesn’t make a person less creative. However, not sharpening your craft and learning your full potential is truly detrimental to you and your potential readers.