As those of you who have been following the blog are aware, I’ve recently completed a draft of my latest book, False Sanctuary. It’s currently with a couple of beta readers (let me know here if you’re interested in having a look as well) and I’ve been getting the first WWP book ready.
I warn you, this post gets a little philosophical. No pun intended.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a huge amount of beta readers to reach out to – hence the continued requests for help. In fact, for False Sanctuary, I fired off a few emails to people whom I haven’t spoken to in over 12 months. I was a bit worried – what if they didn’t remember me, or didn’t want to read my work. What if they didn’t even write anymore, and didn’t want anything to do with writing?
In an entirelyun-scientific survey, both of the people who I hadn’t contacted for a whilecame back to me. And, while they didn’t confirm that they were still writingthemselves, they were happy to have a look at FSand give me some feedback. I did a little happy face, which confused thecat, and sent a draft copy of the book through, before they changed their mind.
Once the cat had recovered, and I was a little more settled, I started to think about what it means to be a writer. If I stopped writing so much (and given some life changing events on the horizon, that’s entirely likely) would I still think of myself as a writer? And if I got a random request from a total stranger on the other side of the world, would I still want to help out?
The non-writing writer
There must be thousands, if not millions, of non-writing writers out there. They put together a story or two in their time, but life got in the way and they never got it finished and it never saw light of day. The number of people on creative writing university courses certainly isn’t shrinking away, and it’s a statistical impossibility that they will all end up making enough money to earn a living from writing. So they can’t all still be writing.
Maybe life got in the way, maybe they had to concentrate on their job or family, or maybe they got sick. They still have a half-finished novel in a memory stick in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, but they don’t write any more. They still take an interest in art though, and read a lot, watch a lot of scripted TV or movies, and they love hearing about the success of other writers.
Are they still writers?
Since I wrote this post all those weeks ago, I’ve changed my mind a little. I don’t think being a writer is a vocation, or even a hobby. I think it’s something that never really leaves you, no matter how much time passes. People may talk in the past tense, but given the time and the resources, they’d still pick up the pen and have another go.
If you are or know someone who fits into this category, I’d love to hear what you all think about this. Can you every really stop being a writer, or is there always going to be a writer in us, in dormancy, waiting for the chance to get out?