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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

... or maybe not!

Part Two

I get the impression from the response to my previous post, and indeed the careful avoidance of comments as well, that what we call ourselves is actually quite a sensitive issue.
As a civil engineer I went through many years of training, most of it on the job, to achieve the status "Chartered". I know there was, at one time, a lot of muttering in the trade press about the over-use of the word engineer in society to mean anyone who did anything remotely technical, and how this threatened to devalue the worth of someone who had spent perhaps a decade achieving an engineering qualification.
So, am I wrong? Do you have to prove yourself to be above a certain standard before you can legitimately call yourself a writer? Should the term "writer" be reserved for people judged to be worthy of that title by the publishing world in general? I respect published authors, writers and journalists who feel that they have earned their titles through what may be years of hard graft.
So, maybe it should be "I write therefore I am ...... someone who writes!"
... but inside I feel like a Writer ...
and I am all the more determined to prove it!


  1. Hi,

    You did say (previous post) writing and whether it constitutes being a writer. After all, a diarist is a writer recording events, and of course diarists' vary in quality and quantity of information per end product. Same thing with blogging. One man's meat another's poison, and not every blogger is looking to end product of polished/edited manuscript status. Many blogs are bashed out off-the-cuff so to speak, same as comments posted. I'm damned if I'm going to spend hours polishing comments or stressing myself over absolute grammatical correctness on blog posts. Life's too short! ;)


    Authorship is another thing entirely! ;)

  2. Hmmm...I read the above comment and am of the mind that a carefully crafted blog post is more important than some believe. You never know who will stop by and read it. I think comments are also important if the post warrants it. As for your abilities Dominic, the proof is in every thoughtful post and comment you make. You are a writer. And a good one.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  3. Thank you Francine, and thank you Nancy.

    My initial thoughts were sparked when I saw the description "aspiring writer" and I tried to put myself into the mindset of someone aspiring to be a writer, rather than the mindset of someone who believes that they are a writer, but just doesn't have a lot to show for it. Immediately I felt a lack of confidence, of being tentative and above all the uselessness of spending hundreds of hours on something that might not be any good. It was this realisation of the importance of a positive mindset that led me to make a plea to "aspiring writers" to believe in themselves and become "writers"

  4. Absolutely, Dominic, people should have a positive mindset!
    I know my opinion may have seemed negative, but that's because I came from a world of successful professional writers and authors, but I wasn't one of them.
    Perhaps I was also influenced by something that happened recently in my circle of friends. We are none of us young, and I've been the only one of us trying to write something, until recently when someone, right out of the blue, told the most unlikely one of us that she possessed writing talent.
    No sooner said than done, this person was suddenly churning out chapters of what I consider illiterate drivel, and looking to me for advice. It makes me crazy.
    There is no doubt she has stories to tell, but if she completes this "book" she thinks she's writing, someone will have to do a major rewrite in order for it to be readable, never mind published. A storyteller is one thing, and I firmly believe a writer is another. When both attributes exist in one person, it is serendipitous.
    But that is my belief and, as I said before, my point of view may be outdated in the 21st century.
    -- K

  5. Not at all Kay, I think your point is very valid, and this is what encouraged me to think more deeply. Your story raises an interesting question. Is a bad writer not a writer until they become a good writer? It may be that a bad writer will never become an author - in my own personal lexicon, a published writer. If they succeed in writing a whole, bad book it will be a great achievement, unpublishable, but an achievement. The crux of the issue is whether or not they have become a "writer". I wonder now whether the answer is whether or not their work is in the public domain. A bad work will never reach the public domain, and therefore by definition the term "writer" becomes a badge of quality. I might have talked myself into a U-turn, here! One last possible definition .... "If the cap fits ....!"

  6. I think there is no such thing as a "bad" writer. I think every voice has its place and should be considered valid. And Dominic, I agree that you're a fantastic writer :)

  7. Hi,

    Had to come back re N.R's comment. Yep, she's absolutely right on "one never knows who might be reading a blog and, that of commentors".

    I'll stick with what I said and add: "personality" shows in blog comments, too, and that aspect probably observed far more - by any one of importance in a literary sense - than whether a comment is considered valid or perfect in presentation.

    I do tend to be blase about blogging and writing, but I think that probably stems from the confidence of being a published writer/author. The latter no barrier to my mixing with unpubbed writers in a friendly manner via blog funtime activities. To be pubbed does not make moi feel superior in any way - unlike some unpubbed writers who air disdain willy-nillly as though experts all things crat of writing!


  8. Oh poo!

    See, off-the-cuff commenting has its pitfalls. crat = craft and grammatical errors thrown in for free. ;)


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