I haven’t been doing much writing lately.
No, that’s a lie; I’ve been writing a lot lately, more than usual. I’ve been hard at work on those TRON Tuesdays posts, trying to get things done a few weeks ahead of schedule to give myself time to play through TRON 2.0 and TRON: Evolution. I’ve also been working on query emails for different video-game-related writing jobs I’m trying to take on the side.
But there’s one thing I haven’t been doing, and that’s working on the latest draft of my book. For some reason, that’s the only work my brain counts as “real” writing – as if the rest is just a distraction from what I should be doing, which is working on the book. It’s beginning to make me feel like I’m not a “real” writer.
And frankly, that’s bullshit. Not the part about working on the book; I need to keep going on it so it gets done, because it’s not going to exist otherwise. But all the other writing I’m doing is valid too. The blog posts ensure that I’m writing regularly, even if next to nobody reads them. And if by some miracle one of the emails manages to work and I get a paid freelancing gig, that will help me bring in some extra money and get my name out there, wherever “there” is. (Perhaps it’s some sort of imaginary city where all the “real” writers live.)
You can only get there by following a road paved with rejection letters.
So I guess it all comes down to how you define “writing.” Now, we could sit around all day picking that apart, arguing about how many people read it or if you get paid or if you wrote it using a quill dipped in the blood of your enemies. But if we’re using those metrics, my book doesn’t count as “real” writing either – only two other people have read it, I’m sure as hell not getting paid for it, and blood coagulates too quickly to make a suitable ink. But I’m not going to let anybody tell me it’s not “real” writing – not even myself.
Dammit, Zanne, does this have a point?
There’s no such thing as “real” writing. There’s just writing. If you’re getting all down on yourself because you don’t think what you write counts as “real” writing: stop that. I don’t care if what you write is a novel, a tweet, a blog post, or fan fiction. If you wrote it, it’s writing – and you’re a writer.
And if anybody else tries to tell you that what you write “doesn’t count”: screw them. They’re just trying to assuage their own insecurities by putting you down so they can say, “Well at least I’m not like that poser.” It’s like how there’s no such thing as a “true punk,” as if someone collected enough Punk Points to get their official Punk Card. Anyone who acts that way looks way more ridiculous than any of the “posers” they loathe.
You are a writer. Whatever you write counts as writing.