Getting to Know You

Where have my manners been? I’ve been so caught up in trying to get the word out on this blog that I’ve forgotten to ask about YOU, my followers, my readers, and (dare I say?), friends. So let me start off by asking: how many of you have been published? Sending out queries? When did you start writing? Or, do some of you not yet consider yourselves writers? When does one make that distinction, do you think? For me, I think you’re allowed to call yourself a writer, even if you haven’t been published, once you think of writing as more than a hobby.

I used to call myself a writer, to the point where I’ve even answered the question, “What do you do?” with “Well, I’m a writer, but right now I’m working in a coffee shop.” Which brings me to my next question, how many of you have used that exact phrase before? Today, though, I do not consider myself a writer. Like many MFA graduates, I used my degree toward getting a job I could have gotten without the MFA, but thought it sounded fancy. Writing as a career choice took a backseat to my actual career, and now if someone asks me what I do, I might answer, “Well, I used to be a writer, but now I’m a full-time publishing assistant…. who also still works at a coffee shop.”

The cool thing about all of these writing/publishing/editing blogs is that writing no longer needs to be solitary (well, as solitary). I like the idea of writer’s communities being formed, but what do you all think? Do you think these websites have improved your own writing? Even though I don’t really write anymore, I must admit that the reading more of these blogs, and starting my own and seeing your submissions, have inspired me. I even recently dabbled in fiction last weekend! But so far that’s remaining safely hidden on my laptop.

A few more things I’m wondering this morning:
Did Friday creep up on anyone else? I think this week went by FAST!
Is anyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year, or has participated in previous years? Please tell your experience/how you’re preparing because it sounds intense!
How excited are you for this? my answer: “extremely!”

Hope I didn’t bombard you too much; I get a little overzealous sometimes.

Enjoy your weekend!

8 thoughts on “Getting to Know You

  1. I have been writing for over 25 years. Ouch that makes me sound old. I cut my grammar and syntax teeth on editing Supreme and District Court briefs for lawyers; Lord knows I rewrote enough of their work!

    One day I was standing on the balcony of my apartment on Lake Erie in Cleveland and the strains of a poem swelled in my head. I couldn't get to pen and paper fast enough. I wrote it, ran it by a couple of friends, submitted it for publication (never believing anyone else would like it) and it was published! From there I wrote more poems, and began dabbling in essays.

    It wasn't until I moved to Italy and told the story of loss of my husband, birth of my daughter and finally living out my dream, that I had an essay published in the Chocolate for a Woman's Dreams anthology. This small bit of encouragement from Kay Allenbaugh helped me find my writer's voice. I started an ex-pat website and began writing travel and tourism articles for publication as well as news stories for ex-pats.

    Now back in the USA I write mostly for private clients (including Italian to English translations of Italian legal documents) and am writing a blog on the story of my life in Italy and romance with the land, its people, wine and a man. I'm also penning a novel about life and love of the same in Italy. Rich with detail of the wine making process, the heartbreaks and celebrations of wine, Italian people and love…. I can't wait to read it!

    As for NaNo, I think I have to finish what I'm working on now before I could participate. One positive note is I'm looking to cut my hours of my full-time job because writing is going so well.


  2. I think you're a writer once you start to care how it comes out. Someone who scribbles some words together for a school assignment isn't a writer, exactly.
    A more interesting thing is how does someone else start to see you as a writer? I've had 2 very minor short story pubs, and I'm considered a writer by my group of friends. Later, when I became a full-time reporter, that cements the definition. But it's interesting how before the newspaper I was considered a writer even though I didn't have much of a publishing history.

    So right now, I define myself as a full-time dad who writes part time.

    I think blogs are helpful, as long as you don't live in them. There are too many things to do on the computer that can distract you from writing. Even now, I'm doing this when I'm supposed to be submitting something.



  3. David, glad you're getting the most out of the blogs. Another one of my faves is Janet Reid's. Also, if I may suggest another book, Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose can be helpful. Reading with a skilled eye is also pretty crucial in being a good writer, I think. Then once you're done with that, I'd recommend everything else Francine Prose has written because she is amazing 🙂


  4. Dan, first off – kudos for going through NaNo! I think it's a great concept, but I'm willing to bet all of the writers later go through the “revision = terrifying” phase because speed writing is bound to be motivating, but probably doesn't produce the highest quality of your work. Are you allowed to have a NaNo devoted to revising? (hypothetical, but feel free to answer)


  5. As an unpublished writer with one skeleton novel and currently querying a second, I think these sites have been an incredible resource for learning the business of publishing and the querying process. They've been a great way to lose some of my idealism about publishing. I feel my actual writing has been better served by my critique group and some of the books on writing recommended by other writers (such as the Write Great Fiction series); but sites like this along with agent blogs such as those by Nathan Bradsford and Kristin Nelson have really given me hope that there's a rhyme and reason to the industry.


  6. Hello! First off, I really like your blog concept, which is why I immediately 'followed' you. Thumbs up and all that.

    I consider myself a writer, but I think it's a mistake. I don't write as much as I should and have no excuse for it. So I'm thinking about not calling myself a writer, then attempting to write everyday so that I could then call myself a writer. Yeah. I'll let you know how that works out.

    I've had a few short stories published on some small net zines. I've written a novel (thank you NaNo) but haven't revised it yet.

    And speaking of NaNo, I don't think I'll be doing it again this year. It was a great motivator last year, but I just can't write competently in that short amount of time. The first 10,000 words of my WIP are actually pretty good (my mom and fiancée told me so), but the last 40K? Which I finished the second half of November? Yikes. I've actually been scared to revise the thing because the last four fifths are so atrocious I don't even know where to start.

    So if there are any contests out there that are like NaNo except they span over two and a half months, Imma sign my ass up.

    I think I've taken up enough blog space. If you'd like to know anymore about me, you can visit my blog. It's crass. And riddled with profanity.

    Thanks for your blog!


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