A Real Writer…

“A real writer uses an outline.”

“A real writer keeps a notebook.”

“A real writer uses character bios.”

“A real writer… writes.”

That last statement is something that writers sometimes forget; especially those who have just started to take their writing seriously. There’s nothing wrong with researching and  adapting other writer’s ideas or methods to compliment your own, but when you stack their method up as an unflinching brick wall and fling yourself against it, all you do is cripple your ability to write.

Different people work in different ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you use outlines then you shouldn’t suddenly stop because someone else swears against them. By the same token, if you write successfully without them, then you don’t need to mire yourself in the outline swamp.  There’s no such thing as the “perfect universal” method. Just as every story is unique, so is every writer’s inspiration, execution and method.

And what is a “real writer”, anyway? A writer who’s published traditionally? A writer who has a full manuscript finished? A writer who has a successful blog? What defines “a real writer”? I think I can put it simply:

A real writer is a writer who is actually writing and anything that keeps you from that is just so much fluff.

9 thoughts on “A Real Writer…

  1. tiffynico March 16, 2011 / 3:35 am

    Perfectly stated. 🙂

  2. Lauralynn Elliott March 16, 2011 / 1:57 pm

    I’m definitely a “pantser”. I have a couple of author friends who outline diligently and cringe at the thought of not having an outline. My problem is that I don’t know what the characters are going to do until I write it. I’ve tried to outline, but nothing will come. But then, when I sit down to write, it all starts flooding in. So, you’re right, there’s no set way of doing things. It’s just like those who say that indie authors aren’t “real authors”.

    • Ruth Ann Nordin March 16, 2011 / 4:16 pm

      Yep, I’m a pantser too. I tried outlining and the whole story changed in chapter 3. That was the last time I outlined. I’ve learned all it does is waste my time. I talked with a traditionally published author once who said she loves it when Harlequin gives her the synopsis so she can have that to work with. I would hate that. This is why I think indie publishing appeals to some of us more than others. I can’t be boxed in with someone telling me what to write. I never know going into a story exactly how anything will play out, and trying to gear the story according to what I want (instead of what the characters want) will only frustrate me and cause severe writer’s block.

      It’s also ridiculous that indies aren’t seen as ‘real’ authors. When someone brings this up to me, I just tell them I’m a genius because I’ve conned a lot of real people to give me real money for my fake books. 😉

      • Lauralynn Elliott March 16, 2011 / 5:06 pm

        January was the first month I ever made more money writing than at my full time job. That was an awesome feeling. So send me some more of that fake..er…real money. LOL

    • Joleene Naylor March 17, 2011 / 3:24 am

      I am the same way, though my problem is once I outline it, I feel like I’ve written it, and I’m done with it. I enjoy the surprises of not knowing what’s going to happen, and if I do know then it takes all the fun out of it for me!

  3. Ruth Ann Nordin March 16, 2011 / 4:06 pm

    I think the term that bothers me more than anything else is ‘aspiring’ writer. To me, if you put words on paper that form a story, you are a writer. To me, ‘aspire’ means you haven’t started anything. A writer is someone who writes. The other divisions that follow after that (published, unpublished, traditional, indie, etc) have nothing to do with whether someone is a writer. The person who writes in a journal no one else will ever read is still a writer. 😀

    • Joleene Naylor March 17, 2011 / 3:26 am

      Exactly! to aspire means, to me, to sit and think about it. I can understand “aspiring novelist” as in “I want to write a novel but have never managed it.” Or even “Aspiring poet” for someone who has started poems but never finished one, but so long as you’re writing, you’re a writer.

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