What Makes A Writer?

Photo by Favim.
What makes a writer? I cannot help but ask myself this question often. I can't even escape it while mindlessly perusing Facebook. The question "What do you do?" taunts me. Can I truly put "writer" in the employment section? Am I a writer if I've barely ever made money from my endeavors? Can I really feel comfortable labeling myself as "writer" or "author" unless I've had a book published traditionally?
It's truly maddening to be stuck in limbo as far as a career is concerned. I am blessed enough not to have to search for a job right after graduating, and I've decided to focus on my writing for a bit and hopefully finish the two novels that I've been working on. But after working on three novels and all the work, time, and blood it takes to be a novelist - I still wonder if any of it really makes me a writer.
Most people would argue that one is a writer because he/she writes. While I fancy agreeing with this notion, I cannot quite convince myself of it. But something happened last week that made me stop in my tracks and reconsider this whole idea. Consider this:
If you were told that you only had thirty days to live, how would you spend your time?
Most people think about things like spending more time with family and friends, focusing on spirituality, or perhaps traveling to a place they have always dreamed of seeing, etc.
For me, there was something else on that list. When faced with this hypothetical question, I couldn't help but feel this overwhelming desire to write. I momentarily felt this panic inside to get all my stories out and to release what little bit of wisdom I had inherited from this life into immortal words. I, too, would want to spend more time with the people I love and in prayer, but spending more time writing truly came as a shock for me. I realized in that moment that "writer" is labeled on my soul. It's not what I do; it's who I am.
If you've ever tackled this question, how did you answer it? And if you only had thirty days to live, would some of your time be spent immortalizing yourself through words?


L. Shanna said...

I feel the same way as you. I think, if I only had 30 days to live, I'd probably take some time to put my thoughts to the pictures in my scrapbooks. I would want my kids to know the stories behind the images.

Jordan said...

If you write, you are a writer. Don't shy away form labeling yourself this if its what you do and love. However, you aren't an author until you've made a professional sale. This is actually the way I learned to think of it from professional authors.